Think about what it is like to be surrounded by total darkness. If you have ever been out in the boonies on a cloud-covered moonless night, you have experienced total darkness. Before our salvation in Jesus Christ we were the actual embodiment of darkness. But as we will learn, we are no longer darkness. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)
Darkness (the absence of light) sums up what we were without Christ and before salvation. This does not say that we were in darkness. It says that before we were born again, we were darkness. There is no Divine spark inside carnal man or woman. There is nothing good, nothing praiseworthy, nothing worth noting at all because without Christ we are darkness. To be darkness means that there is no hope in and of ourselves for turning on the light. There is no light; we are utter darkness.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6) There is no darkness in or around God. He is light. So if we were once darkness that means we had no part of God. We had no claim to Him as Father, no inheritance, no hope. If we are saved and we claim to have fellowship with Him but then walk in darkness, reverting back to what we were and what we were saved from, then we lie and do not live the truth.
It is not enough that we were once darkness, we were dead. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) In our sin we were ignorant of the truth, and we were unable to even discern spiritual things. It took the Holy Spirit effectually calling us to life. If He did not we would never have come, for we were dead darkness.
We were by nature sinners; our deeds were evil, and we loved the darkness rather than the light. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:19-21) Before Christ saved us we hated the light and loved darkness and sin and living for self. We were not trying to please God; we were living for ourselves. We were loving our sin, and were oblivious to the truth that can only be spiritually discerned. Before the convicting power of the Spirit we were quite content to be sinners.
“But now you are light.” It does not say we are in the light; it says we are light. There has been a transformation, a change in our very nature. We are different, changed, and new. Before this change, we were dead in sin, slaves of unrighteousness, and darkness. We were depraved, deceitful, and doomed.
God has a specific role for light and for darkness. He uses these often to teach us lessons and to teach us about Himself and His Word. God tells us that He is our “light and salvation” (Ps 27:1), He “wraps Himself in light” (Ps 104:2), His Word is a lamp and light (Ps 119:105), He is an “everlasting light” (Isa 60:19), and Christ is the “light of the world” (John 8:12). Light is used to teach us about holiness and purity. It illumines our minds, enlightens our path, instructs our lives, and keeps us from falling.
As a new creation we are different than what we were: now we are like Christ, and we reflect His glory. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) This is the great transformation that has taken place now that we are in Christ, and since we know that He is the light of the world He tells us now that we are also the light of the world (Matt 5:14).
We are to look and act, think and speak like Him. Upon being saved by Christ we are made to be like Him and that transformation will continue throughout our lives as we are sanctified and it will end when we are glorified. As new men and women we have put off the old and put on the new, we have been changed from darkness to light. And now that we are light this is not a private thing that no one can see. We are indeed the light of the world. When we are saved we should notice a difference, but so should those around us. It is like comparing night and day.
Before we are born again we cannot receive or know the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). We are incapable, as darkness, to comprehend the things of God because those things must be spiritually discerned. Things are different now that we are alive in Christ. We can know and understand the things of God because now we have the Holy Spirit living in us. We are light, slaves of righteousness, and new–we are transformed!
By God’s grace we are changed from darkness to light, from death to life. Being drawn to Christ by the Spirit and being regenerated by the Word through His calling is indeed a drastic change. From the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God we see our citizenship, loyalties, desires, and lives conformed, transformed, and made new. And in this new life we now are enabled to obey the Word, glorify God, and be holy and righteous.
Christ took God’s wrath for our sin upon Himself and has given to us His righteousness. We have been crucified with Him and He now lives in and through us. We are light. We are the light of the world. It’s time that we live like light, and stop trying to hide it. Let it shine. Show the world what Christ has made of you and pray that He will do the same for the world around you. Today, keep in mind what you are. You are light.