God calls us to live as children of light (Eph. 5:8–14). Light and darkness is a frequent metaphor for the Christian life. Jesus, the Light of the World, is just one example.
The Apostle calls us to be light by reminding us that once we were darkness but now we are light in the Lord. In Christ, we are a new creation—the old is gone. This grace of the gospel is the foundation for Paul’s exhortation. It has profound lifestyle implications. We are transformed through our union with the One who is the Light. So God says, “Live as children of light.” The Apostle tells us that just as an apple tree bears apples, so light produces fruit—goodness, righteousness, and truth.
Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit. Goodness is love in action. Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that “we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Good works don’t save us, but true salvation produces good works. People moved from darkness to light produce the fruit of goodness.
Righteousness is a gospel fruit that creates in us a righteous character before God and right actions toward others. God’s call to live as children of light is a powerful impetus to strive after victory over the inner pollution of sin. If we are dealing with the inner pollution of our hearts, righteous behavior will follow.
Truth is a mark of people of light. They delight in God’s law. They meditate on it day and night. People of light love truth and speak truth. Their lives are marked by truth.
Paul emphasizes the contrast by calling us to reject the darkness (Eph. 5:11). Things done in secret, things against God’s law, things contrary to the light—goodness, righteousness and truth—are fruitless. They do not create a life in which we can flourish and live delightfully before God. Implicit in Paul’s admonition is separation from the culture around us. Note that it goes even further: “Expose the fruitless deeds of darkness.” Clearly we are not to self-righteously condemn others; rather, we are to shine the light on the fruitless deeds of darkness. Light dispels darkness.
Shine the light into the darkness in your home. Proclaim to your children of the futility of dark deeds. Show them the glory of living in the light. Shine the light into your conversations with friends and relatives.
Jesus is our model. He is the Light. He came into our world. He lived in our flesh. He faced our temptations. He did good. He lived righteously. He spoke truth. He exposed the fruitless deeds of darkness. For our sake, He bore the darkness of the cross. He endured the darkness of separation from the Father to bring us into the light. Jesus rescued us from the kingdom of darkness by subjecting Himself to darkness. He calls us to “live as children of light.” We are enabled to do so, for He is the light and He gives to His people what He commands.