CHILDREN OF LIGHT
With this background information we are ready to hear what Paul says in Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Notice that he says we were once darkness and not that we were just once in the darkness. We were not just wandering around in a world of sin; we were full of sin ourselves. We were part of that darkness, part of the evil, death, and ignorance. Remember how Paul put it in Ephesians 2:1, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” What happened to us? How did we come out of the darkness and into light? Ephesians 2:4, 5 makes it clear, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Paul says it like this in Colossians 1:13, 14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” He wrote to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). How did we become light instead of darkness? God did it! He made us alive. He acted upon our hearts and pierced the darkness of sin with his light and made us light! We are the light of the world!
It has come full circle! From the first verses of the Bible when God called light into a lifeless world to this, when God called light into lifeless human beings! He reintroduced the light of his life into us and made us light! Thus Paul calls us children of light. God is light and he has made us his children! He rescued us from the realm of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light! God has adopted us as his children and has made us the royal offspring of the kingdom of light.
So what do we do? We live like children of light. We live like princes and princesses of the kingdom of light. This is what Paul has been saying since Ephesians 4:17. Beginning in 5:3 he speaks to us about how we are to live. We are to have nothing to do with any kind of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed. We live in a society that is sexually charged. We see sex everywhere and there seem to be no rules. In fact, our society scolds us if we are not tolerant. Sexual relations were designed by God to be enjoyed by a husband and wife within the marriage bond. In short, anything else is what Paul calls sexual immorality. Premarital sex, extramarital sex, gay and lesbian sex, it’s all sexual immorality and Paul says it is improper for God’s holy people. It is darkness and we are light.
We are to live as children of light and stay clear of any kind of impurity or uncleanness. In 5:4 Paul explains more. We are to be pure and clean. There should be no immoral conversation among us. He lists obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking. Again, this kind of conversation is everywhere. You can’t escape it at work or school. You can’t avoid it on the internet. Sex and immorality sell everywhere! I keep an eye on the internet and I’m amazed at the things kids talk about and joke about. These are things that are improper for God’s holy people.
Paul warns us about greed. He calls greed idolatry. Greed is idolatry because it causes us to worship things rather than God. In 5:5 he cautions us that immoral, impure, and greedy people have no place in the kingdom of light.
Then in 5:6 Paul says something very interesting, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Christian! Don’t let yourself be deceived by empty words! This is exactly the danger we all face today! We are in very serious danger here because of the darkness of our society. The world says there is no absolute right or wrong. They say there is no absolute truth. They say that everyone has the right to choose his own lifestyle and we cannot attach right or wrong to it. The world is deceived and it is trying to deceive us with empty words. The world says it’s all right to experience sex however and whenever you want to. It’s all right to fill your mind with filth and dirty joking. It’s all right to go after all the stuff you want. It’s your life! Live it the way you want to live it! Paul says, “Don’t listen to that! Don’t let yourself be deceived by such empty talk! God will pour out his wrath on people who are disobedient. They will be judged! So Paul says in 5:7 that we should not join with them in the things they do.