Now You Are Light: Be Light!

Ephesians 5:8-11 NIV

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

One of the things that was missing from my discipleship as a new believer is found in the verses above: “Live as children of the light . . . find out what pleases the Lord.”

I’m afraid that among Baptists there continues to be an erroneous pride in being known for what we are against over and above what we are for. In other words, we often have an unbalanced emphasis on verse 11: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

In these verses, Paul surely tells us to be separate from wickedness, but he also gives us balance. Notice the pattern: dark, light, light, dark. His instruction isn’t only a message of “don’t do”; there is also the positive imperative to “do.” Holiness isn’t just not doing fruitless deeds of darkness; that’s only one side of the coin.

Some might portion these verses out as a measure of theology followed by a dash of the practical.

The theological: First Paul reminds us that we were once darkness, then he contrasts that with what we are after salvation: light in the Lord.
The practical: First Paul tells us to live as children of the light by finding out what pleases the Lord (and by implication) to do that! In contrast, he says that fruitless deeds of darkness are not how we do what pleases the Lord. Stay away from them, and do the other!

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