Ephesians 5:7-14 Walk in the Light

Having helped us to WALK in LOVE (5:1-6), Paul now teaches us to WALK in the LIGHT (5:7-14). After this he will go on to our WALK IN THE SPIRIT (5:15-21). These three commands are based on the triune substance of God: God is LOVE (1John 4:8,16), God is LIGHT (1John 1:5), God is SPIRIT (John 4:24). 

Walking in LOVE (v1-6) spoke of living to give rather than being selfish. LIGHT speaks of PURITY and HOLINESS.People are either walking in the darkness of sin or in the light of holiness (1John1:4-10), making the world a lighter or darker place. We should be living like men who are at home in the day-light of God’s pure presence, rather than those who like to live under the cover of darkness, whose time is the night (Luke 22:53, 1Thess 4:5-8).

v7,8: “Therefore (because the world is under judgement) do not be participators (partners) with them (the world).For you were once DARKNESS (your spiritual nature was once darkness like the world but no more), but now you are LIGHT in the Lord (through our union with He who is the light of the world (John 8:12, Matt 5:14). So, we are to:“WALK as children of LIGHT.”

An additional motive (from the ones given in v1-6) to live holy, not getting involved in the immorality and evil in the world, is what has happened to us in Christ and what we have become. We’ve been transformed from darkness to light. God is Light and we are His spiritual children by the New-Birth. Our spirits are therefore also made of light. We are not just ‘in the light’ but ‘we are light.’ Therefore our lives should conform to our new identity shining as lights in a dark world, witnessing to the Lord (Phil 2:15,16). 

What does this mean in practice
? God is as pure white light made up of all colours, gloriously radiating them all (the fruit of the Holy-Spirit in Galatians 5:23). As His 
children, we too should radiate the light we are: “For the fruit (the issuing forth, radiation) of light (of the reborn spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit) is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (v9). Living by the light of Christ which shines out from within us, produces the ripening good fruit of Christlikeness in our character. 

“Finding out (testing, discerning and approving) what is acceptable to the Lord”  (v10). To walk in the light we must learn to judge between what is of darkness and what is of light. Darkness will often present itself as light so do not be deceived by it, rather: “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil”  (1Thess 5:21,22). We can only do this by knowing the Word of God. That is the standard we must test things by. Don’t go by what’s acceptable to the world, but by what the Word says about it. Our standards have to change radically when we leave kingdom of darkness and join the Kingdom of God. It takes some 
time to find out from the Word of God who we are, what we are like in Christ, and what is the new lifestyle that God approves. 

What is our attitude and approach to the works of darkness? 
“And have no fellowship (association, participation) with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather exposethem. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret” (v11-12). 

First, Paul reveals the nature of these works

1. They are unfruitful, barren and unproductive - bearing no good fruit for our future but rather spoiling it, in contrast to the eternal fruit of light. Walking in darkness causes you to just go round in circles and crash into things, hurting yourself and getting nowhere.

2. Worse, they are shameful, unmentionable and embarassing
. We should be ashamed of these things and how they hurt people and offend against God.

Then Paul describes the right response to these works of darkness (v13,14): 
1. DISASSOCIATE from them. Don’t participate in them because they are 
unproductive and shameful. You don’t have to live that way. Christ has set you free so don’t go back to the world. This does not mean we are not to have any contact with the world, but we are not to be conformed to it (Romans 12:2). This means avoiding close relationships with people who will pull and influence us away from God towards darkness (2Cor 6:14-18). ‘Bad company ruins good morals’(1Cor 15:33). Rather spend time in fellowship with Christians who will help you live in the light. 

2. EXPOSE them
 (show them up for what they are) by letting the light shine upon them. 

This applies first of all to when we are responsible in wrongdoing. 
1. Being in the light will expose wrong things. When we open ourselves to God’s light (whether in prayer, worship or reading the Word), it reveals the true state of our actions and the heart-attitudes and motives behind them: “But all things that are exposed are made manifest (visible) by the light” (v13a). Then instead of covering it up we expose it to God’s light further by confessing it to God. 

2. Sin confessed is then cleansed
: “for whatever makes manifest (visible) is (made) light” (v13b). Light transforms what it illumines into light.  A dark place is changed into light as soon as it is exposed to the light. When you sin, run to the Light not away from it.

Restoration described: “Therefore He says (an allusion to Isaiah 60:1,2):

(1) “Awake, you who sleep.” He is speaking to carnal, out of fellowship believers. They are alive but asleep in darkness, with their eyes closed to the light. He tells them to wake up,opening their eyes to the light, getting back in fellowship by confessing their sin (1John 1:9).

(2) “Arise from (among) the dead.” The dead are the unbelievers. A believer out of fellowship is like someone sleeping among a group of dead people. Although alive, he looks much like the rest. One would have to search closely for signs of life. (If accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in how you live to make a conviction?) So having woken up (confessed your sin) don’t just lay there paralysed by guilt. Instead arise as one who has been forgiven. Get up, brush yourself off and start living again as a child of God, according to who 
you are in Christ.

(3) “And (then) Christ will give you light."Get moving in God, then you will get direction for your life. Believers out of fellowship wonder why they don’t hear from God as to what they should do. First you must awake (open your eyes to your sin and confess it), then get up ready to do God’s will, and then you will receive His light (guidance). 

In the case of other people’s wrong doing, we first of all expose it to the light by our example. Let your light shine by how you live. Light comes to the eye rather than ear. The light of your life will expose the darkness. ‘I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness.’ Your love shows up selfishness. Your generosity of spirit shows up pettiness. All that light strikes becomes light. God (like the sun) is the source of light. We (like the moon) have no light of our own, but we receive the light of God and reflect it to a world in sin, just as the moon reflects the sunlight upon the earth in darkness. This light illuminates, exposes and reveals what is there (bringing conviction). This ministry of light is not only by our life, but also by our lips, whether this be our witness to the world (Phil 2:15,16; Matthew 5:14-16, John 16:7-11) or our confronting of someone’s sin (Matt 18:15). Although we are generally not to judge (pass sentence on others) there are times to lovingly correct them.



About Us



Bible Commentary





OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK