JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light…”
January 9, 2011, 2:21 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

This seems to be a continuation of Paul’s thought at the beginning of chapter 5 of his letter to Ephesians reference “therefore, as beloved children, be imitators of God.” Again this relates to His great love for us and expressing our sonship in Christ as a result of His love, expressing His life that is our life. After Paul describes those things that reflect the old man, that was “dead in your trespasses and sins” Paul continues his sentence saying that “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Again living out of our sonship is pointed out here.

As a child of God, His life wants to be expressed through us and we know that, there is a spiritual sense related to this desire to express Christ. We are in conflict because of this body that we still have on this earth and the wrestling with its desires over that of Christ’s. But we must understand that in reality Christ has already taken our sins, our flesh, the powers and authorities that were against us and nailed it to the cross, they have been disarmed, and He has triumphed “over them by the cross.” Our flesh, the old man “died with Christ” and now “Christ…is our life.” “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.” Amen! So as he told the church in Colosse: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Paul had mentioned earlier to the Ephesian Christians “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind and to put on the new man – created according to God in righteousness and holiness – of truth” (1).

Since Christ is now our life, as we learn to hear Him and be taught by Him and follow what He says, since truth is in Jesus, we will learn Christ and His life will be manifested through us. That life, described here as light by Paul is manifested with fruit, “the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” Paul seems to be repeating what he mentioned earlier about putting on the new man, because as we live by Christ’s life, His life of goodness, righteousness, holiness, and truth is manifested. So we need to “find out what pleases the Lord” by keeping our minds on Him, focused on Him so, as Paul often mentioned himself, that we might have a clear conscience.

It is interesting that Paul contrasts “the fruit of the light” and “the unfruitful works of darkness” (2). Paul reflects those things that are of the old man in contrast with that of the new man, what is dead in our flesh versus what is life in Christ. This reminds me of what he told the churches in Galatia. When we are living by Christ’s life, by His Spirit “you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.”

As we live by Christ’s life, living by the Spirit, keeping in step with the Spirit as we hear Him, Christ, in love, will expose that which is dead. Christ exposes the old man as dead and gives spiritual sight of His life in us. “Everything exposed by the light becomes visible (manifested), for it is the light that makes everything visible.” Paul gives a brief hymn that the early Christians sang together to remind them of this fact: “Rise, the sleeping one, and stand up out of the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (3). This is something we do not have to work at, too often we “become conceited, provoking and envying one another” because we are focused on our and others fruit (being judgmental), trying to do the work (often being religious as a result), instead of on Christ and we have divided the body of Christ because our focus, our mind, was not stayed on Christ, who is head of His body.

No wonder Paul quickly says “be very careful, then, how you live (walk) – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Paul is quick to tell us to keep our focus on Christ, stay on Christ, keep our minds on Christ, hear Him, be taught by Him, in so doing we learn Christ, we learn to live by His life of love and His life will be manifested, the fruit of His life! In some religions it seems getting physically drunk was a way of having a religious experience, but instead, we are to “be filled with the Spirit.” God does not want us to have a religious experience, but to experience His life, a life of love, light, and wisdom, a life under His control, with Christ as Head. We are not to live uncontrolled selfish lives such as drunkenness and living however we want to or trying to control others, stealing their freedom in Christ, but to have our minds on Christ, focused on what He is saying and living by His life together, sacrificially loving and serving one another. “But now we are light in the Lord, walk as children of light!”

(1) Literal translation from Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 571.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid. Additionally Andrew T. Lincoln says that this hymn could have been a baptismal hymn that “signified a movement from the sleep of spiritual death into the light of life in response to the divine call…turning away from the sleep and death of the old life.” While I think this is possible I think it also has refers to the continually hearing Christ, receiving spiritual sight from Him, and being taught by Him as we live by His life. Andrew T. Lincoln, Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, Volume 42, Word Books, 1990, 332-333.

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