The Book of Ephesians: Light and Darkness.

13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13–14 (ESV)

The metaphors of light and darkness are predominant within the Scriptures. They have certainly been predominant within Ephesians 5:7-12. The image of light and darkness is a symbolic theme of ethical dualism. This dualism is present from the beginning of the Old Testament and developed throughout the Scriptures.

One biblical commentator writes, “Light and darkness together describe the opposite ends of a good-evil dualism that pervades biblical symbolic language. The specific reference of light or darkness in a particular text must be assessed based on its context, but the essential meaning of the dualism remains true throughout both Old and New Testaments.”

While the two concepts are found throughout the Scriptures, I believe it would be wise to focus our attention exclusively upon the writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul’s use of light and darkness emerges out of the creation story when God brings light to the darkness and chaos, thus establishing a link between light and God’s presence and activity (2 Cor. 4:6).

Paul follows the four Gospel authors’ tendency of using the metaphorical meaning of light to describe Jesus (John 1:1-5; I John 1:5-7). Paul also uses the imagery of light shining in the darkness to refer to the gospel of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:4–6). Additionally, those who follow Christ are called “children of the light” (Eph. 5:8). Those who oppose the way of Christ by their actions are described in terms of darkness and night (1 Thess. 5:2–7; Eph. 5:14; Rom 1:21).

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary states, “The association of God with light is recurrent in the NT. The apostle John wrote that “God is light and there is no darkness in him at all” (1 John 1:5, nlt). The apostle James referred to God as “the Father of lights” (Jas 1:17). Or God may be thought of as living in light, light that no person can approach (1 Tm 6:16; cf. 1 John 1:7). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; see also 9:5), and “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46, rsv). Jesus told his followers to believe in the light while it was with them (v 35). Such passages emphasize that Christ brought a revelation from God, but he was more than a revealer. He was himself that revelation, according to the apostle John (John 1:1–10). John the Baptist came to bear witness to the light for the purpose of bringing people to believe (vv 7–8). Those who received Jesus, who believed in the light, received the right to become children of God (vv 9–12). Sometimes light is used to express the illumination that happens when people come to the knowledge of God and his salvation (Mt 4:16; Lk 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:18).”

As children of light (Ephesians 5:8), may each of us let our light so shine that people will see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!    

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