Light in the Lord
Ephesians 5:8
For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Light denotes several things in Scripture.

1. Spiritual knowledge. Light and knowledge are terms of the same import (2 Corinthians 4:6). Light to discover God in Christ savingly, and to discern the things of God spiritually.

2. Purity and holiness. Sin and corruption is expressed by darkness, holiness and purity by light. In this sense the most holy God is called Light (1 John 1:5), spotless and perfect holiness, in whom there is not the least impurity. And in reference to us (ver. 7), such a light as this is life, spiritual life, which consists in the principles of holiness and purity.

3. The favour of God, and the consequent of it, joy and comfort. The favour of God, the manifesting of His loving kindness, is frequently expressed by the light of His countenance (Psalm 4:6), the issue of which is joy and gladness (ver. 7). Light and joy explain one another (Psalm 97:11). That which is light in the first clause is joy in the latter.

4. Glory and happiness. Heaven, the seat of it, is described by light (1 Timothy 6:16). It is called the inheritance (Colossians 1:12).Use 1. If those that are converted be light, etc., then those that are not converted are not light in the Lord. This necessarily follows by the rule of contraries. They may be light in appearance, or in respect of natural endowments, or moral accomplishments, or in the account of others, or in their own conceit and apprehensions, but they are not light in the Lord; and this shows the misery of an unconverted state, and it is useful to take notice of it more particularly. If they are not light in the Lord —

(1) they are not in the Lord. The phrase implies union; but such are without union to, without communion with, without participation of, without special relation to Him; without His special protection, without His special favour, without His gracious covenant. It may be propounded to them that they have no actual interest in, or right to, the blessings, the mercies of the covenant.

(2) They want the saving knowledge of God in Christ, they are not light in this respect. The darkness of ignorance and misapprehensions is upon the face of their souls; the prince of darkness, the god of this world, has blinded their minds (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4). Though they may be knowing men in other respects, yet as to spiritual, saving, experimental, effectual knowledge of Christ, and the things of Christ, they are in darkness.

(3) They want the favour of God. They are not under the beams of Divine love, the light of God's countenance does not shine on them, and so they are not light in the Lord. Those that are unconverted, want that which is the life and joy to the converted soul; that which sweetens all his afflictions and makes all his enjoyments comfortable.

(4) They want the lustre of holiness. This is one thing which concurs to make converts light in the Lord. This light shines nowhere on earth but in the hearts and lives of such; those that are unconverted show themselves either strangers or enemies to it. They are carnal, sold under sin, know not what belongs to an holy frame of heart; think heaven may be attained without strictness, holiness, as the Scripture requires, and the lives of the saints there recorded hold forth; jeer, deride, abuse it, under odious names; place all their holiness in some outward performances or observances; holy discourse and employments are wearisomeness to them.

(5) They want discoveries of future glory, they are not light in the Lord; they have not so much light as will discover it at a distance; there are no dawnings, no approaches, no appearances of that blessed light. It is midnight with a sinner while unconverted. But how shall we know, who are in this state, whether or no we be light in the Lord? To direct you herein, let us come to —Use

2. by way of examination. Hereby ye may know whether ye be converted. Every convert is light in the Lord; those, therefore, that are not light in the Lord are not converted; these are so conjoined, as he that knows the one may conclude the other. Examine, then, whether ye be light in the Lord, if ye would know whether ye be converted. In order hereto observe these particulars:

(1)  Light is delightful.

(2)  While there is light there is heat.Heat, as philosophers tell us, is an inseparable property of celestial light. We see a concurrence of these in fire; indeed, there may be an appearance of light where there is no heat, as in glow worms, but where there is any real light, there is some degree of heat more or less. Answerably, they that are light in the Lord are zealous for the Lord, eager in following Him, ardent in love to Him and desires after Him, fervent in spirit in serving Him.

(3) Light is progressive. The light from its birth grows and increases, till it domes to its full strength, when the sun is in the meridian. Thus it is with those that ale light in the Lord, as Solomon expresses it (Proverbs 4:18). This light is but a spark at first, and often accompanied with much smoke, but by degrees it breaks forth into a flame. Such grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ; they go from strength to strength, and from one degree of holiness and spiritual knowledge to another; this light daily prevailing against the darkness of ignorance and corruption, till at last it be brought forth to victory. There is a growth of knowledge in the extent of it; it discovers one truth after another, unlocks one mystery after another, and daily scatters the clouds of misapprehensions. In the clearness of it, sees gospel truths with more and more evidence, as that blind man's sight was restored by degrees (Matthew 8:23, 24). In the firmness of it: established in the truth to a full assurance. There is a growth in the spiritualness, the efficacy, the experimentalness, the practicalness of his knowledge. This light has daily a more spiritual and powerful influence upon his heart, to spiritualize it in his motions, intentions, inclinations; upon his conscience, to make it tender; upon his affections, to kindle them to God, and dead them to the world; upon his conversation, to reform and beautify it with more holy and exemplary actings. There is a growth in grace, too, in everyone that is light in the Lord. This light of holiness shines more and more, prevails against inward distempers and outward miscarriages, Dears down the interest of darkness, i.e. of the flesh and of the world.Use 3. Consolation to those that are converted. If thou art a convert thou art light in the Lord, and this light discovers thy condition to be safe, comfortable, glorious, durable.

(1) Safe. If thou canst conclude by Scripture evidence, I was sometimes darkness, etc. The Lord has brought thee into a safe condition; thou art freed from those fears and dangers that thy former darkness exposed thee to.

(2) Comfortable. Light and joy in Scripture are put one for the other; and Solomon tells us: "The light of the righteous rejoiceth" (Proverbs 13:9). What cause they have to rejoice who are light in the Lord; who are in Him, united to Him, in covenant with Him, under the beams of His love, under the sweet influences of His loving, kindness!

(3) Durable. Not safe, comfortable, happy for a moment, but forever; for it is light in the Lord. If thy light were in thyself, death or other calamities might extinguish it; if thy light were in the world and outward enjoyments, it might go out of itself, for the light hereof is but as the crackling of thorns; if thy light were in wickedness it would certainly be put out (Job 18:5, 6). But what can put out that light that is in the Lord? Light in other things is like them, vain and fading; but light in the Lord is as He is, everlasting. Everlasting knowledge, joy, holiness, happiness is the portion of converted souls; because they have all these in the Lord.

(4) Glorious. Nothing visible on earth more glorious than light; and these are put one for the other in Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:41). What is their glory but their light? Those who are converted have hereby a double glory, one as they are light, the other as they are light in the Lord, light in the Lord of glory, He is a glory to them, even as a robe of light would be to our body; such, and much more, is the Lord to a converted soul (Isaiah 60:19).

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

WEB: For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Walk as children of light,

Light in Daffiness
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