The Glory of Christ and His Church—Walking in the Light
Today, I want to examine how believers are to walk in the light of Christ. Jesus is the light of the world and, as His born-again followers, we carry His light within through the indwelling nature of the Holy Spirit. We radiate the light and glory of Jesus everywhere we go!
Paul encourages us in Ephesians to recognize that, before our conversion, we were in darkness like the rest of humanity. However, after coming to Christ, we are now free of the grip that darkness once had. He encourages us to now live as children of the light and not to partake in darkness any longer.
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:1-2 NKJV)
God is the kindest, most loving being in the universe. He is the author of love, and love is the expected fruit in His followers. In Christ, God has raised us to a place of love, kindness, and holiness in Him. God expects us to walk in His righteousness as much as His love and kindness. This is what it means to be an imitator of God. Paul continues in the next verses:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” (Eph. 5:3-7 NIV)
Paul clearly tells the Ephesian believers, and us today, to not participate in the sinful behaviors of darkness. Further, he warns that those who don’t know Christ, as evidenced by their sinful lifestyles, do not have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
Culture at large opposes Christ, God’s Word, and the attributes of His Kingdom. Therefore, don’t be partners with them in these behaviors—including with what we watch, read, and allow to entertain us.
Paul stated in Corinthians of those without Christ and their sinful behaviors:
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:9-11 NIV)
Paul is reminding believers, in both the Ephesian and Corinthian passages, to not partner with the lifestyles of the ungodly. Rather, live in the holiness of God and in the nature of Christ. Paul is also stating a serious point: those who live according to their own natural affections and refuse to live in Christ will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But God made away for all of humanity to inherit God’s Kingdom and to be free of His wrath… that is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to be truly born-again by accepting the precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ!
Walking in the Light (Eph. 5:8-14)
“You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice, and truth.” (Eph. 5:8-9 CEB)
Walking in darkness isn’t the desire any longer for the believer, rather walking in His light. His light is illuminating the hearts of humanity—even those who are not born again. His light, His Spirit is shining upon them and drawing them toward Him. Each person still has free will to repent and receive Christ, but His light is at work upon everyone to draw them to Christ.
To refuse God’s light as revealed in Christ, is to bring condemnation upon ourselves (John 3:17-20). Without Christ, we receive the just penalty of our sins, or the wrath of God.
His light, the revelation of the truth of Christ, has led us out of darkness, and freed us from the power of the darkness and our old nature. We reflect the identity of the one we are most aware of. If my focus is on Christ, I reflect His nature and my behavior will follow my reflection.
Jesus states of the light in us:
“The lamp of the body is the eye, therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light…take heed that the light that is in you is not darkness…if then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:33-36 NKJV)
Jesus warns us to not allow darkness to rule, but to allow His light to fill us and shine through us. Darkness is from the Greek skotos and means “to cover”. Darkness is evil that attempts to cover the light. The eye is regarded as the lens of the soul and reflects the total orientation of one’s life. Darkness attempts to cover the light of God’s Word & truth.
God’s Word is a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. His Word creates light that guides, protects, delivers, heals, and frees us. His Word provides absolutes in a world where boundaries don’t seem to matter.
The darkness hates the light. Jesus warned us that the world would treat us the same way it treated Him.
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19 NIV)
So complete is the light of Christ, that when a person is completely yielded to God with no compromise with darkness, the entire body is illuminated and radiating the light of Christ.
Paul, in writing about the glory of new life in Christ and His new covenant states:
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Cor. 3:18 NLT)
We are being changed into His glorious image through new birth and the empowering work of the Spirit. From glory to glory, the light of His presence is changing us and radiating from us! His light through us empowers us to proclaim His gospel in a dark world.
Several of us were at a restaurant last week. All of us are Christians and we were just having some quiet conversation as the waitress walked up to take our order. She stopped and asked, “Are all of you Christians?” “Yes,” we responded. She said, “I could tell! There is a light from all of you! I am a Christian, too!” God’s light is visible in those who are truly born-again and walking in the light of Christ.
Paul connects the light of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit:
“(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” (Eph. 5:9 NIV)
Fruitfulness flows from the intimacy we have with Jesus, the light of the world! Goodness, righteousness, and truth emanate from His light. Positionally, we have been united with Christ and His light; as we practically walk this out through relationship with the Lord, His light and fruit shine!
The light of Christ in us is producing fruit in our lives that others can see. The light becomes tangible through the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-23 NIV)
We are to walk in the light and truth of the gospel as His representatives. His very light and love are radiating out of us to provoke the hearts of those we interact with to come to Christ. We function from His life!
Genuine Christianity, led by the Spirit, opens the mind to the potential of being completely transformed to think like Heaven—to have a Kingdom perspective.
God is after something far more than just “good behavior.” He is after the maturing of each of us, and the Church as a whole, into the fullness of Christ, to function with a mindset that nothing is impossible with God! To move from forgiveness to freedom to fulfillment. However, we must participate with God’s Word and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Don’t fellowship with darkness; instead, reveal the truth about it.
It’s one thing not to walk in darkness; it’s another to “expose” others who are in darkness from their deception. It requires God’s love for others to motivate and guide us. It requires a pure faith and life to walk in this manner. There is a fine line between a religious, critical person and someone moving in God’s love with a heart to rescue the broken.
“Therefore, test everything to see what’s pleasing to the Lord, and don’t participate in the unfruitful actions of darkness. Instead, you should reveal the truth about them.” (Eph. 5:10-11 CEB)
Scripture is clear; immorality, impurity, covetousness, and idolatry will disqualify us from the Kingdom of God. But Jesus forgives! Jesus was inclusive, but He was not affirmational. He practiced transformational inclusiveness. “Come to Me as you are, but allow My Word and Spirit to transform you!”
To the woman caught in adultery in John 8, Jesus said, “…neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Then, He says this,
“I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)
You’ve heard it said, we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin. True…
But we must love the sinner enough to tell them the truth of God’s Word, the reality of God’s love, and the eternal consequences of sin apart from Christ.
Jeremiah warned the people of judgment unless they repented. They ignored him, but he never stopped praying and weeping for them. He begged God to give mercy to the people. This needs to be our heart!
Our desire should be to seek those things that are above and not of the earth. We are to be in the world, but not of it. We are citizens of a heavenly Kingdom; our desire and pursuit should be toward Heaven and living in the light of Christ and truth of His Word.
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Walking in the Light”: