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A meditation on Ephesians 5:7-14


Throughout the Scripture God is associated with light. To reject God is to live in the darkness. To embrace and belong to God is to live in the light.  

Darkness is associated with Satan, ignorance of God, and judgement [Revelation 16:10; Jude 13; 2 Peter 2:4,17; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Matthew 25:30 ].

Light is associated with God, knowledge of God, and salvation [1 Thess 5:5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Psalm 27:1].

When Jesus, the Light of the world, came into the world, he brought with him both knowledge of God and salvation [Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; John 3:19; 8:12; 12:35,46]. Those who believe in him are removed from the authority and tyranny of the darkness and become members of Christ’s kingdom of light [Acts 26:17b,18; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9]. They are called ‘children of light’ and ‘light in the Lord’ [Ephesians 5:8].

In this kingdom of light in which Christ is the King, and with this new identity as ‘light in the Lord’ and ‘children of light’, sin, although it happens, is utterly out of place, utterly incongruous. Just as impurity of speech and life is totally out of place for ‘God’s holy people’ [Ephesians 5:3-4], so there are behaviours that belong to the darkness and are completely out of place in the children of light [Ephesians 5:7-14].  

There are two further facts that assert the incongruity of sin in those who are children of light: Firstly, sin – ‘the fruitless deeds of darkness’ – is what brings God’s wrath and judgement on those who are still in the darkness [5:5-6]. How wrong it is for those who have been rescued from God’s wrath and judgement to keep on doing those things that incur his wrath and judgement, things that would put us in hell had Christ not died to redeem us!  And secondly, it is the role and function of light to expose sin for what it really is [5:11-14]. It is not the role of light to perpetrate and propagate darkness. Indeed, Paul says, the things people do in the darkness are too shameful to be even spoken of by the children of light.

‘Live as children of light’, Paul says.

Peter puts it this way: ‘you are … a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ [1 Peter 2:9].

Jesus said: ‘You are the light of the world. ... Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ [Matthew 5:14,16].

 Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2100.