Have you ever noticed that on warm summer nights all sorts of moths and insects swarm to outdoor lights that are left on? The variety can be fascinating and ranges from mosquitoes to dragonflies and everything in between. Insects are not attracted to more darkness. They are attracted to the light.
In a similar way, people who are living in darkness in our world today are not attracted to more darkness. They are attracted to the Light on Christ. We can help them out by turning on our own lights from Christ. We don’t have to be trained speakers or ministers or evangelists. All we have to do is share with others what Christ has done for us and what he means to us. For example, we can share the fact that we were also in darkness.
Paul declares that we as believers were once darkness, not that we were in darkness. We were not innocently surrounded by sin and evil but were wholly part of that environment. Our old selves had to die in order to sever our relationship with sin. Being new people in Christ doesn’t mean that we are sinless. It means that because our old lives have been crucified and buried just like Christ was crucified and buried for us, we don’t have to sin any more.
Now we have become light and should have no fellowship with darkness. We can walk in the light of Christ by doing good deeds, acting as beacons of light in our dark world and not even thinking about sinning. We are to conduct ourselves ethically since we have adopted the way of Christ. We are to lead moral lives. Good works and Christ-pleasing behaviour are important parts of living the Christian life because God prepared such good works for us to do. In addition, we are to imitate Christ and God as important components of our Christian walk of life.
Paul reminds us of our conversion experience. This reminder is twofold. First, it refocuses our attention on new conduct, which represents a new reality. Second, it strengthens us so that our new conduct encourages others to awaken from sleep and the darkness of their own negative conduct and be converted into the light of Christ.
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians sets boundaries for our lives together as a community of faith. These boundaries allow us to pursue goodness, justice and truth not only by following truth, but by exposing anything that is false or secret. Paul urges us to test everything to see if it is acceptable to God. We can do this by asking questions such as;
- Is this thing in agreement with God’s Word?
- Will it draw us closer to God?
- Does it further the cause of Christ in the world through us?
Being a Christian should cause us to think and act differently from the rest of society. Walking in the light of Christ confronts us with the possibilities of love and goodness. It also exposes the temptations of green and abuse. Exposing evil is risky, but the greater threat is the silence of those who consistently sacrifice their moral consciences on the altar of social order. We do not have to fear evil and darkness because we are armed with the light of Christ.Believers must not only remove themselves from darkness, but they also have a responsibility to expose and stand against the darkness. The Bible gives general principles for living, but we as Christians must use wisdom to discern how to apply these principles to current issues in our lives. Christians are to show by their lives and their wise interactions that evil is not to be ignored by God’s people.Life without Christ is a lot like what we experience during a power outage-survival mode in pitch darkness. Without Christ, hope, truth and morality are whatever we want them to be. Without Christ, our lives are simply lives spent stumbling around in the dark hoping not to bump into anything. How often do we hear friends say something like, “Well, I guess I’ll just wait and see and find out in the end whether I was good enough.” Thankfully, there is an alternative to a life of uncertainty and darkness. It is a life with Christ, who offers assurance and a grace that sheds light in the darkness.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, p. 1646)
- ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
- Margaret Aymer, “Commentary on Ephesians 5:8-14.” Retrieved from www.workingpreacher.org
- Richard Carlson, “Commentary on Ephesians 5:8-14.” Retrieved from www.workingpreacher.org
- Dunnam, M.D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 31: Galatians/Ephesians/ Philippians/Colossians/Philemon (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982; pp. 215-223)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Meghan Kleppinger, “No Longer Stumbling in Darkness.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Dr. Neil Anderson, “A Change in our Very Essence.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Anne Graham Lotz, “Just Turn On the Light.” Retrieved from www.angelministries.org