“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV)
“Where’s the light?” This is the panicky question young children ask their parents as they enter into a dark room. They are concerned in knowing where the light can be found. Similarly, “Where is God?” is the panicky question the unbelieving world asks Christians as the see their “secure” world coming unraveled before their very eyes. “Where’s the light?” The Apostle Paul reminds us of our role in answering that question.
In Ephesians 5, Paul explains the extraordinary transformation Christ makes in the life of His believers. He accomplishes this by contrasting the believer’s old life with their new life. Paul borrows an example from nature that would be easily understood by his readers—light and darkness.
“For you were once darkness.” This statement of conclusion describes the state in which current saints found themselves before Christ. Darkness (skotos) described their past condition. The unredeemed were not in darkness but actually were darkness. Metaphorically this describes individuals in whom “darkness becomes visible and holds them sway.” (Thayer) They are morally darkened by sin, spiritually bankrupt, and desperately in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23).
“But now you are light in the Lord.” What caused the change between “once darkness and now light”? Salvation! God’s plan of salvation provided a change in status—from darkness to light. Light (phos) is used figuratively to describe truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity (in contrast to vv. 3-5) associated with it. God took sinners who were “foolish, disobedient, and deceived and according to His mercy, He saved them” (Titus 3:3-5).
“Walk as children of light.” As new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), new relationships emerged. No longer in fellowship with darkness, the redeemed became children and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17) with all its power (Ep. 1:19) and privilege (Ep. 2:6). In addition, new believers’ lives were redirected to God’s purpose—to walk as children of light. As “light bearers” they now offer to the lost the same light they received when they walked in darkness. By hearing the Gospel and through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, the darkened world will be attracted to The True Light, Jesus Christ (John 8:12; 9:15).
As you plan your daily activities remember to embrace your identity in Christ as children of light. Look for opportunities to “turn on the light” in dark places and “show others the goodness of God, for He also called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT).