Online Bible Commentary
Children of Light
Ephesians 5: 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
In the previous verses, Paul has given us instructions on how to follow God’s example. He wrote that we should flee from sin. This allows the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us. In this passage he elaborates on this subject.
In verses eight through thirteen Paul cites a common theme in the Bible, the war between light and darkness, good and evil, Christ and Satan. Christ already won the war on the cross but Satan will continue to battle as long as he can continue to deceive Christians with his lies.
Paul tells us that before we were Christians we were not just doing evil, but we were evil itself, possessions of Satan (v.8). As Christians though, we are possessions of Christ, “children of light” (Christ), and, as such, we possess “goodness, righteousness, and truth” (v. 9) through the Holy Spirit who dwells within every Christian.
Therefore, we should seek to please the Lord (v.10) and no longer have anything to do with the darkness, sin (v.11). Instead we should expose sin, as horrible as it is at times (v.12), in the hope that when it is exposed it will be changed from darkness to light (v.13). The hope is that the child of Satan, when he sees the error of his ways, will turn to the light, Christ. Paul then cites three Old Testament Scriptures describing what happens at the rapture (v.14), to make his point about how we can have new life in Christ.
Paul concludes this passage with a warning and an exhortation. He warns us to be very careful how we live (v.15), to live wise, making the most of every opportunity, in an evil world (v.16), through understanding the Lord’s will (v.17).
Paul exhorts us not to live as those who “are drunk on wine”, but instead to be filled with the Holy Spirit (v.18). It is a control issue. We should not be under the influence of anything but the Holy Spirit. We are continually being filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit when we cooperate with Him.
We grieve the Holy Spirit and quench His power in us when we sin. So that is what we need to control. We are no longer controlled by sin when we empty ourselves of self and yield ourselves totally to the Lord. It is the seeking of things to please ourselves that leads to sin. When we put that aside and live only to please the Lord, He is able to work in us.
So when we empty ourselves of self, the Holy Spirit is free to fill us. We then live only to please the Lord. We find out what pleases the Lord by reading and studying the Bible. We become a new creation, holy and pleasing to Him. Then the blessings flow. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Mt 6:33).