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),
BE what you ARE.
This is the foundation of the entire Christian life. Every other religion asks us to BECOME what we SHOULD BE. But not Christianity. Christ’s word to us is quite different. Only the gospel says what we ARE before it asks us to BE.
Look at how it’s expressed in Ephesians 5:8-9 above: You ARE light. Walk as (BE) children of light.
In Gospel Christianity our ethic (walk as light) always flows from the power of our identity (you are light). We are not just standing IN the light. We ARE the light. Jesus was not just IN the light, or a pointer to the light, nor was he revealed by a greater light. He IS the light of the world.
When we were placed into Christ our very nature changed. Darkness became light. Christ’s light. His life. Not just his teachings (although they are brilliant), not just his miracles (although they are spectacular), not just 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.
John 8:12. Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
And now, because we ARE light, we walk as children of light. We live in the light. This, of course carries with it all kinds of ethical applications. Which is exactly where Paul goes next:
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.
Here’s the glorious truth of grace – when you are given a new imputed identity, you no longer have to go desperately searching for your own. And the more and more we trust our identity in Christ, in the light, the less and less we need sexual immorality, or impurity to satisfy us. The less and less we need to covet another’s identity. We are light! We are in Christ. What’s left to covet? What desire is left unsatisfied? None.
And then comes the scary reminder:
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;
Is Paul saying that each time we sin we lose the Kingdom of God? Not at all. Again, this is all about identity. He’s reminding us that those whose identity is a “son of disobedience” (not in Christ) do not belong to the Kingdom of God, and God’s wrath awaits them.
But that’s not those of us who are in Christ. We are light. We are sons of obedience. We are God’s children. So 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 instead, 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. Make 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 walk. Your light. And mostly your love. Christ’s love. Does your love for others expose their fear? Their stresses? Their anger? Their impurity? Their covetousness? Their lack of faith in God? Does your love expose those living in darkness? Good. Because now they too may become light.
“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 don’t “hide our light under a bushel.” NO! We walk as children of light.
Are you light? why or why not?
You in Christ
Can you connect the idea of “be what you are” to union with Christ?
Christ in you
Where can your love expose darkness today?
Playlist: Walk in light