Ephesians 5:8-9. 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),
Here is the basis of the entire gospel ethic: BE what you ARE.
We ARE light in the Lord and so we DO walk as children of light. Or as Jesus said it: “You are the light of the world… so let your light shine before men.”
This is one of the greatest certainties of our union with Christ, that Jesus is light and in him we too are light. The language is that of identity. We are not just IN the light. We ARE the light. Jesus was not just IN the light, or a pointer to the light, or revealed by a greater light. He IS the light of the world. And by faith IN CHRIST we become the light of God as children of the light.
John 12:36. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.
It is not just our environment that changed when we were placed into Christ. Our very lives changed. We moved from darkness to light because of the light of life.
John 8:12. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It is Christ’s LIFE that makes us LIGHT. Not his teachings (although they are brilliant), not his miracles (although they are spectacular), not his example (although it is inspiring). It is his life given to us as a gift of grace, transplanted into us as the power of perfect love, that transforms us into his life and light.
Um, this clip might require it’s own blog.
And it is our faith in this life that produces the fruit of light. The fruit of all that is good, and right, and true. Fruit not deeds. Deeds are something you put effort into doing. Fruit is something that grows out of you by the simple reception of the life of Christ (faith in grace) – like fruit on a tree that grows from just being in the light.
But we are walking fruit trees. We aren’t only standing still soaking in the light. We live our lives as light in the dark. And so who we ARE has real life implications for what we DO.
Including implications for our sexuality, which is where Paul started this new section of the letter back in verse 3:
Ephesians 5:3-4. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
If our identity is in Christ, if it is light not darkness, then this will impact how we understand and live our lives. Our sexual desires no longer have to define us. Therefore immorality, impurity and coveteousness no longer need control us. Our sexual identity is not our ultimate identity. In fact when you are in Christ sexuality is no longer ultimate, it is a gift. So be thankful for it. The solution is not to suppress the sex drive or the sexual desire but to let it take you to God in thankfulness. Exposing it to the light. Submitting it to him. Forsaking porneia ( a pretty all-inclusive word for any sex outside marriage).
And just in case you need it (and we all need it sometimes) here comes the scary warning:
Ephesians 5:5-7. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them;
But the scary warning is not our motivation to be good and right and true. Our new identity as light is. We are not living our lives to avoid wrath (at least I hope we’re not). That is not Paul’s reasoning here. He is not threatening God’s wrath on us. We have already been freed from wrath because Jesus Christ drank that cup on the cross. Here’s Paul’s reasoning within the warning – why would we choose to walk like those who are not inheriting the kingdom of light when in fact we are inheriting the kingdom of light?
Ah good point.
So back to where we started, BE what you ARE.
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light.
Be light. Expose works of darkness making all things visible so that they too may become light.
Where are the works of darkness around you? Are you participating in them? Excusing them? Normalizing them?
Or is your walk exposing them?
Not your condemning words. Not your social media rants. Not your arguments.
Your life. Your walk. Your light. Mostly your love. Christ’s love. Does your love for others heap burning coals on their head? Does it reveal their hate? Does your purity reveal their impurity? Does your peace reveal their fear? Does your hope reveal their covetousness? Does your truthfulness reveal their lies? Does your light reveal their darkness?
“To live is Christ” is life lived out as light that first exposes, then makes visible, then transforms into more light. Therefore we are not light so that we can avoid darkness. We are light so that we can dispel darkness while spreading God’s light. We are sparks that are meant to burn. We don’t “hide our light under a basket.” We walk as children of light.