Ephesians 5:8

As a reason for their not lapsing into vices from which they had escaped, the apostle reminds them of the darkness of their pagan condition.

I. THEY WERE ONCE DARKNESS ITSELF. "Ye were sometimes darkness." The phrase is very impressive, for it indicates a moral as well as an intellectual darkness. A hard heart is always linked with a blinded understanding. The two act and react upon each other, becoming alternately cause and effect. Men do not care to retain the knowledge of God in their thoughts, and God, in judgment, gives them over to a reprobate mind. The most enlightened natures of the ancient world were thus "darkness" itself. Athens, the eye of Greece, inscribed upon an altar the confession of its ignorance. The phrase, "darkness," suggests three thoughts.

1. There is fear in darkness - the fear of enemies, the fear of death, the fear of undefined agencies. Heathenism was full of fears. Death was a dark and terrible specter.

2. There is discomfort in darkness. Light, its opposite, is the symbol of joy.

3. There is danger in darkness. Enemies use the nights for their deeds of violence. We stumble on a dark night; we fall down precipices; we take a wrong road. How expressive is the term as applied to the heathen!

II. THEY ARE SOW "LIGHT IN THE LORD." Conversion has wrought a radical change in the understanding as well as the heart. Believers are now light "in fellowship with the Lord" (1 John 1:3). There is more implied than the flashing into a human mind the knowledge of the truth; there is the renewing of that mind into the love of the truth which it knows. Otherwise the light would torment and not comfort. But believers, thus doubly furnished may well be called "light in the Lord." The light of the sun does not stream down directly upon the world; at least, it comes to the service of men reflected from a thousand objects which receive it upon their surfaces; similarly the world sees the glory of the Sun of righteousness reflected in the millions of saints who are "lights in the Lord."

III. THE DUTY OF BELIEVERS IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES - "WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT." That is, as those in nearest connection with it.

1. As light signifies joy, believers walk in the joy of an assured hope and a perpetual cleansing. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, ... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

2. We walk in the day and therefore should not stumble. "The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth" (1 John 2:8). We ought to keep an eye fixed on the straight path of duty, and avoid the by-paths that lead to darkness and ruin.

3. If we walk in the light, we ought clearly to recognize the fellowship of all travelers to Zion. "If we walk in the light ... we have fellowship one with another." We are going the same way, inspired by the same hopes, meeting the same difficulties, arriving at last at the same home. - T.C.

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
I. THE DEGRADATION FROM WHICH BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN RAISED. A state of wretchedness resulting: from ignorance to God and disobedience to His will.

II. THE NOBILITY TO WHICH BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN ADVANCED. The light of truth has shone into their hearts, and exposed to view all the abominations, all the depravity, that lay concealed in the dark chambers of imagery within. They have learned to know not only themselves, but also God and Jesus Christ, "whom to know is life eternal." They are now united to the Lord, and are of one spirit. Christ dwells in them, and they in Him.

III. THE DUTIES devolving on those who are "light in the Lord."

1. They are required to walk as children of light; to prove their descent, to show what family they belong to; to act according to the light bestowed, the knowledge attained; to keep themselves unspotted from the world, undefiled by the surrounding contagion.

2. They are bound to "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord" — to test what is well pleasing unto Him. This can only be known by the revelation of His will, oral or written.

3. They are forbidden all fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness.

(J. D'Arcy Sirr, D. D.)

I. THEIR FORMER STATE. "Darkness" — the darkness of heathendom. Such was the state of all men by nature. The state of nature is a state of "darkness"; and I may say of every unregenerate man, "thou art darkness." And if this is true of our view of nature in its best form, what shall we say of the life of sin? Utter darkness! everything darkness! Our Lord says, "he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth;" and the apostle describes them as "wandering stars"; going from bad to worse, and from worse to worse, from one sin to another, from one error to another. But there is another description of this state of darkness, besides this: we say, that a state of unbelief is a state of darkness.

II. THEIR PRESENT CONDITION. "Light." A very strong expression. It is not said, "ye have some light"; it is not said, "there is some light in you"; but it is positively declared, "ye are light." Of course, this can only be taken in a modified sense; because how little is the light that any of the saints of God have! We see only through the "unveiled face." "We see as in a glass darkly"; "we know in part." Alas! how little do we know of the glory of the Saviour in His person! how little do we know of the perfection of the Saviour! how little do we enter into the glory of the atoning blood! how little do our souls enter into the "sweet savour" of that sacrifice! and how little we realize the perfection of that Perfect righteousness, which is "unto all and upon all them that believe"! How little do our spirits enter into the deep and unutterable fulness that there is in Jesus! And yet, though our light be so feeble, still it is "light." He never despises that light that comes from the work of the Holy Ghost in the soul of man; however feeble, however faint, He never despises it. Oh! for a word of tender caution; do you never despise it either.

III. THE EXHORTATION. "Walk as children of light." If you ask for a simple view of their "walking as children of light" — I would say first of all it is to walk in the brightness of that light: to walk in the light of God's precious gospel, to walk in the light of God's perfections, to walk in the realizing view of His pardoning mercy, to walk in the light of His adoption, to walk as righteous ones, righteous in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Surely the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun."

2. He "walks as a child of light," beloved, as he walks in the purity of that light. Observe, this is an essential part of the subject — it is the very subject for which the apostle introduced it; "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." My dear hearers, we are to "walk as children of light" — only be you thankful and grateful for being thus brought into the light. To be brought into the light, to one that once was blind, would be one of the first things that would fill his heart with joy. What were ye once? I am persuaded too, beloved, that if we are "children of light," we shall rejoice that others be made to "walk in the light" of that same gospel; we shall rejoice to diffuse, as far as in us lies, that gospel around us.

(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

But what is it to be in darkness? What is this unconverted state that the Holy Ghost so often calls darkness? Take it in these four particulars. To be in darkness is

(1)to be in sin, the work of darkness;

(2)to be under Satan, the prince of darkness;

(3)under wrath, the fruit of darkness;

(4)near to hell, the place of darkness.The Scripture by darkness ordinarily expresses some or all of these. When an unconverted state is called darkness, we are to understand by it a most sinful and miserable state. The misery of an unconverted state is so great, as even this darkness will discover it. Let us follow the metaphor a little, the better to discern it.

1. Darkness is uncomfortable. So is the state of an unconverted sinner. Who would not be weary of his life upon earth, if the sentence of continual darkness should pass upon it? Alas! more miserable is thy condition if unconverted, because the want of spiritual light is a greater misery than the want of sensible light.

2. Darkness is dangerous. He whose way lies near snares and pits, who is to pass over precipices, rocks, the brink of dangerous gulfs, and has no light to direct him, every step is the hazard of his life. No less dangerous is the way of man ever since sin entered into the world. So many snares has Satan laid, so many pits has he digged, so near we walk to the brink of the bottomless pit, as without light we cannot make one step in safety.

3. Darkness is fearful. We read of the "horrors of darkness" (Genesis 15:12). What more apt to engender fears than darkness, when dangers are on every side, and nothing visible that may afford confidence! So the state of nature. The condition of a sinner unconverted is a fearful condition. He is encompassed with terrors on every side; such as, if he were sensible of them, would dash all his mirth and carnal jollity. Those whom the Lord has enlightened to see the dreadfulness of that state, they wonder that such can sleep quietly, or take comfort in any enjoyment, while they are not converted.But who are those that are in darkness? How shall we know whether we be in this unconverted state?

1. Who walk in the ways of darkness? The children of light do not walk in the paths of darkness. You may know your state by your way; ways of wickedness are ways of darkness: so Solomon: "The way of the wicked is darkness" (Proverbs 4:19). He that walks in any way of known wickedness, be it drunkenness, etc., neglect of ordinances, etc., he is in darkness. "By their fruits ye may know them."

2. Those that want spiritual discerning. He that has eyes and sees not, it is plain he is in darkness; what else should hinder his sight? So they that have the same understanding, the same faculty of inward sight with others, and yet perceive not that in spiritual things, that those discern who are savingly enlightened, it is evident that spiritual darkness overshadows their souls.

3. Those that act not for God. The things of God are at a distance from every unconverted man; he sees not, he knows not how to go about it.

4. Exhortation, to those that are converted, brought out of the woeful state of darkness; let this stir you up to joy and thankfulness for your deliverance.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

"For God who commanded...not of us." We hear much in these days about the electric light. It is much more brilliant than the old-fashioned lamps. I was looking at one the other day, and noticing particularly that the "candles," as they are called, are only black, ugly pieces of charcoal. Nothing more. As I looked at them I could not but wonder that things which by their nature were so black, could, when connected with the mysterious power which causes the flame to glow, give out such wonderful light. Truly the light is not in them. It is the unseen but mighty power working in them and through them that enables them to be useful. A tiny flaw may break the connection and stop the light — disconnected for one instant from the source the light dies instantly, and utterly.

In the words we have —

1. An antecedent.

2. A consequent, or an argument and an inference.First: The antecedent, or argument, is taken from their present compared with their past estate, what they are with what they were.

1. The grace received — "Ye are light"; that is, filled with the light of wisdom and holiness. But can it be used of any mere man liable to such imperfections?(1) It noteth not their perfection so much as the perfection of the dispensation they are under. Not their perfection, as if there were no darkness in them at all, but the clearness of the gospel which then shined brightly to them. There is a difference between the gospel and believers; the gospel is a perfect light, but we do but imperfectly receive it.(2) It noteth some good measure and degree of participation, but not complete fruition. Participation it noteth, for otherwise it could not be said that we are not only enlightened, but light itself; not complete fruition, for those that are said to he "light in the Lord" are presently called "children of the light"; which doth somewhat abate of the expression.(3) It noteth that we have received grace, not only for ourselves, but for the good of others.

2. The author of this grace — "In the Lord"; that is, Christ; for there is but "one Lord," as well as "one God and Father of all" (Ephesians 4:5, 6); and whatever good we have, we have it from Christ and in Christ.

I. Let me speak of the two opposite states, "darkness" and "light," and there show you that the carnal estate is an estate of darkness, and the renewed state is a state of light.

1. The carnal estate is an estate of darkness. So the apostle telleth the Ephesians, Ye were not only darksome, but darkness itself, for the greater vehemency of the expression.(1) The darkness of the understanding is ignorance; they are incapable of discerning between good and evil, know nothing of the nature and will of the true God.(2) There is downright and apparent wandering from God.(3) Eternal misery is the issue and close of it (Matthew 25:30; 2 Peter 2:17).

2. The renewed estate is an estate of light. Light is a quality pure and unmixed, and implieth both knowledge, holiness, and happiness. Knowledge, as it discovereth all things; holiness, as it is pure, and can shine on the filthiest dunghill without any stain; felicity, as it is the smile of heaven upon the earth.

II. That there is a mighty change wrought in them who are called out of one estate into the other.

1. They have a different principle. All things work according to their nature; as fire ascendeth and water descendeth; fishes go to the water, and beasts keep on dry land; it is according to their nature, and that principle of life which they have. The saints have a Divine nature: "Whereby ye are made partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

2. As the internal principle of our operation is unlike, so the external rule of our conversations are quite different, viz., the will of God revealed in the word, which they study to know and obey: "Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10); "Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (ver. 17); "That ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

III. That it is good often to compare those two estates, and to consider what we are by nature and what we are by grace. First: That we ought frequently to reflect on our former woeful estate. Reasons there are for this.

1. To magnify the riches of God's mercy in our deliverance from that woeful estate. We wonder at it more when we compare both together (1 Peter 2:9).

2. That we may admire His power in the change (1 Corinthians 6:11).

3. To keep us humble (1 Corinthians 15:9; 2 Corinthians 12:7.

4. It makes us more compassionate to others, we having once had as blind a mind and hard a heart as they (Titus 3:2, 3).

5. It makes us more watchful. A man who has escaped a dangerous disease or surfeit is very careful not to lapse into it again.

6. It quickens us to greater fruitfulness for time to come. Was I so zealous for sin, and shall I not do so much for God (Romans 6:19)? Since we set out so late, let us mend our pace.

7. It maketh our conversion more evident and sensible, and so quickeneth us to thankfulness and praise.

8. It increases our confidence and hopes of eternal life. He that could take us with all our faults, and love us, and pardon us, and heal our natures, and reconcile us to Himself, will He not give us eternal life after we begin to obey, love, and serve Him in our measure? (Romans 5:9, 10).

9. It puts an argument in our hands against sin (Romans 6:20, 21). Secondly: We ought to remember what we were by nature, so as not to deny what we are by grace (Romans 6:17).

IV. This change must be manifested by a suitable conversation: "Walk," etc. Children of the light may refer to the dispensation we are under, or the grace we have received by it.

1. The dispensation we are under, as those that live in the clearness of gospel light are children of the day. Ye are not of the night; walk as children of light, that have the light of the gospel, or becoming that most holy religion which Christ hath taught us.(1) In the light all blemishes are soon discovered, and so our sins are without excuse; whereas people that have not the gospel, or not so fully preached, are more excusable. Men might plead this, that they knew no better; but now they "have no cloak for their sin" (John 15:22).(2) As they are without sin, so without shame, when they sin in the open light: "Every morning doth He bring His judgment to light; He faileth not, but the unjust knoweth no shame" (Zephaniah 3:5).(3) Sins are more dangerous and deadly: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil" (John 3:19).

2. The grace received by it.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. This verse is TYPICAL OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. It is the appeal which the preacher to Christian hearers has to make in very varied forms and at various times all through his ministry. Advent and Lent, the special times appointed by the Church for doing it, in order to ensure its being done. But it is a work for every time; and every mission or other time of revival is a form of doing it.


1. Light a good thing; needful for our bodily health; needful for our sustenance by the fruits of the earth; without light we could not live.

2. Without light we could not work. We may put forth strength, but cannot direct it.

3. Darkness a bad thing — hurtful if continued, and destructive to animal and vegetable life. In the night crimes of violence are committed; it is their congenial home.


1. Light to the soul is when all its powers are directed consciously to right ends, i.e., to holy living, to the worship and the glory of God. Darkness, when either it knows not that right end, or, knowing it, deliberately chooses something else as its purpose.

2. Contrast in these respects between the Christian and the pagan world.

IV. EARNEST AND PRACTICAL. The personal question, the great question for us all.

1. Are you in the darkness or in the light?

2. With all your Christian privileges you should be in the light. Do you prove that you are so by love to God, watchfulness over yourself, tenderness of conscience? No mere words will be acceptable as a proof. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." On the other hand —

3. Whatever your profession of religion, and whatever your privileges, if you are contented with sin — willingly enduring it, not anxious to overcome it in your own soul and in the souls of others — then you are still in the darkness.

4. Be not satisfied to remain so. Make an effort to break your chain by the help of Jesus.

(S. J. Eales, M. A.)

I suppose that all you boys and girls think that you know how to walk. You would laugh at the idea of being taught how you are to use your legs now, as you were when you were babies. Well, we will see. You all know how to walk along the country lanes and turnpike roads, but if you were to go to London for the first time, you would find that you did not know how to walk. I have sometimes seen a countryman in one of the crowded streets of the City of London, trying to make his way along, and every minute he would run against some passenger, and get in the way of another, till the busy city folks were quite angry with him. There is a particular way of walking in crowded streets, and, like everything else, it has to be learned. But there is another kind of walking which has to be learned. We hear a great deal about that in the Bible. St. Paul has much to say about how we ought to walk, and he was not writing to little tiny children, but to grown up men and women. Now there are only two roads on which we can walk. One is the broad road which leads to destruction, the devil's road. It seems easy to travel on it at first, but it grows harder and rougher as we go on, for "the way of transgressors is hard." You know what the other road is? The King's highway, the narrow path which leads to life eternal, God's way, of which He says, "Walk ye in it." Here are some plain rules for you, my children, which will show you how you ought to walk through life as God's children, as children of light.

1. Then, keep to the right. You will often see these words printed up in the crowded streets of great cities. Your own conscience will tell you what is right, and whenever there are two ways for you to go in, the right or the wrong, be sure to keep to the right.

2. The next rule I give you is, keep your eyes open. If you were to walk along a road with your eyes shut, you would soon stumble or fall, or wander out of the right path; but if you keep your eyes open, you see the rough places over which you might stumble, and the muddy places where you might splash your clothes with dirt, and you can see the finger post showing you the right way. Well, in walking along the path of life you will need to keep your eyes open. There are dangerous places, over which you will stumble and fall, unless you watch for them carefully; there are temptations, like muddy pools, which will stain your white robe, and make it foul, unless you avoid them. If you keep your eyes open, you will see God's hand directing you, and you will find that He has placed many finger posts to show you the right way. The Church is one finger post, the Bible is another, your teachers are all pointing out to you the right road.

3. My next piece of advice to you is, push your way. There are sure to be difficulties in your path. You can do one of two things, you can wait for the difficulty to be removed, or you can push your way through it. In large towns, where there are great public buildings, such as banks and offices, you often see a heavy door leading into the building, and on it is written the one word, "push." Now, suppose you wished to enter that building; you might pull at that door for hours and not open it; you might ring the bell, or call to someone to open, but everybody would be too busy to listen. There would be only one thing for you to do, you must push, then the door would open. So it is with all difficulties: "where there's a will there's a way"; if you push against the door which is blocking your way, it will open.

4. Take another word of advice, when you meet with your enemy, fight. I don't mean an earthly enemy, and I don't mean fighting with your fists. As you walk along the roads of life, your enemy, the devil, will often stand in the path to injure you, to turn you out of the way, "Whom resist, steadfast in the faith." The ancient Greeks, who were the most famous soldiers of old times, carried a shield in battle. To lose this shield and leave it behind, was the greatest disgrace which could happen to them. When a soldier was killed, or badly wounded, his companions laid him on his shield, and carried him out of the fight. I have read of a Greek mother, who said to her son as he was going to the battle, "Either return with your shield or upon it." That meant, "Either conquer or die." My children, it would be very sad for us to have to say, after we have met with temptations to sin — "I have returned again, but I have left my shield behind."

5. Last of all, take this rule if you would walk rightly, mind the crossings. In London streets it is very difficult and dangerous to cross the road sometimes. If you are not very careful, and quite accustomed to it, you may be knocked down, and run over: or you may take the wrong turning, and lose yourself. So it is with life, we have to cross over a difficult crossing very often, and there is a great crowd of temptations and sins all around us, and if we are not very watchful, we shall be knocked down and run over by some of those temptations.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

The Pulpit.
I. ATTEND TO THE CHARACTER APPLIED TO THE HEIRS OF GRACE. "Children of light," as opposed to the "children of darkness."

1. On account of their celestial extraction.

2. It denotes their spiritual illumination.

3. It signifies the purity of their hearts.

4. It refers (o the sanctity of their conduct.

5. It means that they have an inheritance of this description in heaven.

II. THE APOSTLE'S EXHORTATION — "Walk as children of light."

1. Shine in your conduct towards your minister. Hold him in high reputation. Submit to him, Pray for him. Receive his advice. Provide for him.

2. Shine one towards another. Cultivate unanimity. A spirit of forbearance. Help each other. Preserve a high esteem one for another, and seek to have your affection increased. Conduct yourselves towards each other with the strictest fidelity.

3. Shine in your conduct towards all around you in the world.


1. Be circumspect.

2. Be humble.

3. Take care of an implacable spirit.

4. Be steady in your profession.

5. Take the Word of God for your guide.

6. Pray that your minister may be faithful.

(The Pulpit.)

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.)

I. WHAT IS IT TO BE CHILDREN OF LIGHT? It denotes several things.

1. Descent. They are called children of light who are of the Father of lights. Christ, the light of the world, is formed in them.

2. Propriety.

3. Destination. 1 Samuel 20:31, one who is near to, worthy of, destined to, death; so children of light, because ordained to it.

4. Residence. They abide in the light.

5. Constitution. Their minds, hearts, affections, are of a lightsome, i.e., a spiritual and heavenly temper; spiritual light in their minds, holiness in their wills, joy, delight, hopes of glory in their hearts.

6. Obligation. Those that are converted are in this sense children of light, because they are obliged to walk as those that are enlightened from above; to walk holily, to be followers of God as dear children. There are strong engagements laid upon them, they are bound by covenant thus to walk.


1. To walk at a distance from darkness (ver. 11); from sin, which is the work, which is the cause of all those woeful things which the Holy Ghost expresses by darkness. "What communion has fight with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). He speaks of it as a most absurd, incongruous thing, that those that are light should mingle with darkness. Every degree of darkness is contrary to fight; so every sin, small or great, open or secret, is opposite, contrary, altogether unbeseeming the blessed relation of a child of fight.

2. To walk boldly; to be herein followers of God as dear children. How followers of God? The apostle tells us (1 Peter 1:15, 16), the light of holiness should shine in the fives of those that are Christ's; holiness both exercised and diffused. Walking denotes motion and activeness.

3. Exemplarily. Children of fight must walk so as to be fight unto others, and this in divers particulars.(1) Unblameably. So as to give no cause of offence to the weak, nor no cause of reproach to the wicked.(2) Their walking should be convictive. It should discover and manifest the sinfulness of those who walk in the ways of darkness.(3) Their walking should be imitable, i.e., worthy of imitation; so order their ways as they may be a pattern unto others; so shine, as others may follow the light, not in affectation of preeminence, or singularity, in unwarranted opinions or practices; but in close following of Christ, and walking exactly according to the rule of holiness.(4) Their walking should be an ornament to their profession.

4. Cheerfully. Being children of light, they are children of joy. That is their portion, they are all Barnabases, sons of consolation, and should walk accordingly.If it be inquired how we may walk as children of light?

1. Walk not according to opinion. This can have no better ground than vain opinion, which Moses followed not, when he "chose rather to suffer," etc., and "accounted the reproach of Christ," etc. (Hebrews 11:25, 26). He had not respect to common opinion, but to something else; nor did the apostle regard it, but something of another nature (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

2. Follow the light of the Word fully. Make use of it to discover the whole will of God concerning the duty of His children, that you may comply with it, and order heart and life by it. Decline no part of it, whatever it be.

3. Walk above the world and earthly things. Children of light are clothed with the sun; the moon, the world is under their feet (Revelation 12:1). It has no high place in their minds or hearts; riches, pleasures, honours, and respect are thrown down in their thoughts, and cast out of their affections, they are not the design of their lives; the world is their footstool everywhere, and serves, does not command them.

4. Walk in the sight of heaven. Children of the fight are the "children of the kingdom," heirs of heaven and glory, begotten again to an inheritance, etc. And that is one reason why they are called children of light, because they are heirs of the inheritance of the saints in light.

(D. Clarkson, B. D.)

I was in a darkened room, that I might observe the effect produced by the use of what is appropriately called "luminous paint." A neat card, on which the words "Trust in the Lord" were printed, rested upon the bookcase, and shone out clearly in the darkness. The effect fairly startled me. It was the first time that I had seen this simple but interesting effect. How remarkable that, if from any cause the light of sun or day failed to rest upon the card, its luminousness gradually declined, but returned when the sun's action infused fresh light! Truly, we also, if hidden from the face of our Lord, cease to shine. "Ye are light in the Lord: walk as children of the light."

(Henry Varley.)

That deep-lunged, red-blooded preacher, Sydney Smith, used to throw open the shutters to the morning sun, saying, "Let us glorify the room!" Both conscience and temperament led him, also, to insist on flooding the dark places of the moral world with cheerfulness, which is the sunshine of the spirit. Thus he constantly advocated the wisdom of what he called "short views" of life. It was obvious, he thought, that the larger part of our worries and perplexities came from the anticipation of evils. He insisted that if we were happy now, or at least not miserable, or even not overborne by the trouble of the hour, we might logically infer — nay, we should even make it a duty to suppose — that tomorrow, or next week, or next year, would also bring its balance of compensation and resistance. Every substantial grief or danger, he used to say, was accompanied by twenty shadows, and most of these are of our own making.

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