For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. These verses present to us the Christian life in its transformation, obligation, and demonstration.
I. TRANSFORMATION. A true Christian is one who has been changed from darkness into light. The figurative language implies:
1. A change from immorality to holiness. "Darkness" is the emblem of depravity. "They that be drunken are drunken in the night." The ghastly legions of hell win their most terrible victories in the gloom and silence of night. The "light" is a symbol of purity.
2. A change from ignorance to knowledge. Darkness clouds our vision, and hides from us the world in which we live. Man in an unregenerated state is in the moral world as a man in midnight. "Light is a symbol of intelligence.
3. A change from sadness to joy. Darkness is depressing. Even the irrational creatures feel its dejecting power. Sin is sadness; true religion is joy. We are told that there is no night in heaven." It means that there is no immorality, no ignorance, no sorrow there. How great the change that has taken place in a true Christian man!
II. OBLIGATION. Two duties are here indicated.
1. Walking in light. "Walk as children of light." Don't go back into darkness. Nay, don't remain in the twilight of Christian experience, but step farther and farther into the day. Leave the valleys, scale the hills, and come more directly under the broad beams of day. To walk in the light is to walk intelligently, safely, and joyously.
2. Pleasing God. The ninth verse being parenthetical, the last clause of the eighth verse should be read with the tenth, "Walk as children of light, proving what is acceptable - well-pleasing - unto the Lord." "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2). The expression "well-pleasing" to God throws a light upwards on God and downwards on man.
(1) It reveals God. It indicates
(a) his moral susceptibility. He is not indifferent to the moral conduct of his creatures. It indicates
(b) his forgiving mercy. Man, though a sinner, can, through his infinite mercy, render himself acceptable to him.
(2) It reveals man.
(a) It indicates the highest end of his being. What higher object can a creature have than to please the Creator?
(b) It indicates the highest blessedness of his being. The smile of the Creator is the heaven of the creature.
III. DEMONSTRATION. The Christian man develops in his life certain glorious things. "The fruit of the Spirit ['light'] is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." He demonstrates in his life:
1. Divine beneficence. "In all goodness." He is full of social love, tender, compassionate, self-sacrificing.
2. Divine righteousness. He is a man of inflexible honesty, unswerving rectitude. In him the "righteousness of the Law is fulfilled."
3. Divine reality. His thoughts, sympathies, actions, are in harmony with the eternal realities of being. He is neither a visionary nor a hypocrite. His thoughts are true, his life is sincere.
CONCLUSION. What an infinite boon is the gospel to mankind! How glorious the transformation it effects! how righteous the obligation it imposes! how great the power it confers! - a power to demonstrate in our life the good, the right, and the true. - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: