Live in the Light
Key Verse: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.”
THE WORD “LIGHT” APPEARS five times in today’s lesson. This term, as used in the New Testament, signifies that which shines, illuminates, or makes manifest. In the verses of our lesson, Paul uses “light” to describe three distinct features of the lives of those who are seeking to follow in the footsteps of Jesus: 1) Light is the illumination of God’s Word which has shined into the minds and hearts of God’s people; 2) The followers of God and his son Jesus are to be lights and shine forth to others; and 3) Those striving to follow Christ must walk in the light they have received by living their lives in accord with its principles.
“All things … are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph. 5:13,14) An important principle given here is the fact that light makes “all things” manifest, revealing them to those whose eyes are open to see. In the case of God, he has made manifest his truth—his plans and purposes—to those sincerely seeking to know them. He has done this through his Son, Jesus Christ. It was Jesus, the representative of God, that came to earth to “bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37), shedding forth the light of the Gospel message to his disciples. It is this message of truth, authored by God himself, and manifested by his Son, which has continued to shine into the hearts of Jesus’ footstep followers throughout this present Gospel Age.
In another verse of our lesson, Paul uses the term “light” to describe the followers of Jesus themselves. “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” (Eph. 5:8) Prior to the Lord’s followers receiving the light—the illumination of truth spoken of previously—they were in darkness. Not only was this darkness in their heart and mind, but it also was “reflected” in their manner of life as displayed to others. Once the light of truth illuminated these, however, they became a reflection of light, rather than darkness. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, admonished his disciples in this regard, saying, “Ye are the light of the world. … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.”—Matt. 5:14,16
The third aspect of light which Paul speaks of in our lesson is found in these words: “Walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8) This describes the responsibility of all the Lord’s consecrated people to daily live their life—“walk”—in a manner which befits the source of the light they have received. As we have already considered, that source is God, and his Son, Jesus. In verse 11, we read, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” This provides a clue as to how one should “walk in the light.” If, as Paul says, the works of darkness are “unfruitful,” that must mean that the works of light, or walking in the light, must be those which are “fruitful.” The fruits which give evidence of walking in the light are the “fruits of the Spirit,” which Paul lists elsewhere in his writings: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Gal. 5:22,23) Thus, by receiving the light, being a light, and walking in the light, the child of God can fulfill the words of our Key Verse, and be “followers of God, as dear children.”