Faithlife Sermons

Session 6: I am a Light

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Background

Paul wrote Ephesians while he was imprisoned, probably in Rome. There is a healthy debate that Paul wrote this letter to be read by many other churches other than the one at Ephesus, considering its generality. Most date this letter around AD 60-62
Let’s look at
Let’s look at Ephesians 5:8–10
Ephesians 5:8–10 ESV
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Compare to verse 8
Matthew 5:16 ESV
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
What do you think Paul was referring to when he speaks of darkness?

Darkness was thought of as a curse. Thus the OT speaks of death as a land of darkness (Job 10:21–22; 17:13; Ps. 88:6). Darkness is frequently associated with supernatural events involving the judgment of God, such as the plagues of Egypt (Exod. 10:21), the coming of the Lord (Isa. 13:9–10; Joel 2:31; Matt. 24:29), and Christ’s crucifixion (Matt. 27:45). The day of God’s judgment is often described as a day of darkness (Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18–20). Elsewhere darkness forms part of God’s punishment on the disobedient (Deut. 28:29; 1 Sam. 2:9; Job 5:14; 15:30; 20:26; Ps. 107:10; Isa. 47:5; Jer. 13:16; Ezek. 32:8).

In the NT the place of punishment for humans and sinful angels is designated “the outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; cp. 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6, 13). Darkness often has an ethical sense. Scripture speaks of ways of darkness (Prov. 2:13; 4:19), walking in darkness (John 8:12; 1 John 1:6; cp. 2 Cor. 6:14; Eph. 5:8), and works of darkness (Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11). In this ethical sense God has no darkness in Himself (1 John 1:5). Powers hostile to God can be termed darkness. People thus face a choice of whether to yield allegiance to God or to darkness (Luke 22:53; John 1:5; 3:19; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 5:5). Darkness also symbolizes ignorance, especially of God and of God’s ways (Isa. 8:22; 9:2; John 12:46; Acts 26:18; 1 Thess. 5:4; 1 John 2:9). God’s deliverance (either from ignorance or hostile powers) is described as lighting the darkness (Isa. 9:2; 29:18; 42:7–16; Mic. 7:8; 1 Pet. 2:9). See Light.

Darkness was thought of as a curse. Thus the OT speaks of death as a land of darkness (; ; ).
Job 10:21–22 ESV
21 before I go—and I shall not return— to the land of darkness and deep shadow, 22 the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is as thick darkness.”
Job 17:13 ESV
13 If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness,
Psalm 88:6 ESV
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
Darkness is frequently associated with supernatural events involving the judgment of God, such as the plagues of Egypt (), the coming of the Lord (; ; ), and Christ’s crucifixion ().
Exodus 10:21 ESV
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.”
Isaiah 13:9–10 ESV
9 Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.
Joel 2:31 ESV
31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
Matthew 24:29 ESV
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Matthew 27:45 ESV
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
Powers hostile to God can be termed darkness. People thus face a choice of whether to yield allegiance to God or to darkness (; ; ; ; ).
Luke 22:53 ESV
53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
In the NT the place of punishment for humans and sinful angels is designated “the outer darkness” (; ; ; cp. ; , ). Darkness often has an ethical sense. Scripture speaks of ways of darkness (; ), walking in darkness (; ; cp. ; ), and works of darkness (; ). In this ethical sense God has no darkness in Himself (). Powers hostile to God can be termed darkness. People thus face a choice of whether to yield allegiance to God or to darkness (; ; ; ; ). Darkness also symbolizes ignorance, especially of God and of God’s ways (; ; ; ; ; ).
John 1:5 ESV
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 3:19 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Colossians 1:13 ESV
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
1 Thessalonians 5:5 ESV
5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
Darkness also symbolizes ignorance, especially of God and of God’s ways (; ; ; ; ; ).
Isaiah 8:22 ESV
22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
Isaiah 9:2 ESV
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
John 12:46 ESV
46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Acts 26:18 ESV
18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
1 Thessalonians 5:4 ESV
4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
1 John 2:9 ESV
9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Children of light is a very packed statement. What does that mean to you?
Children of light is a very packed statement. What does that mean to you? Look at ; ; ; ; ; ;
Walk as children of light. See . Cf. also ; ; ; ; ;
1 John 1:5–7 ESV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Psalm 27:1 ESV
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Isaiah 9:2 ESV
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 42:6 ESV
6 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,
5:8 Walk as children of light. See 1 John 1:5–7. Cf. also Ps. 27:1; Isa. 9:2; 42:6; 49:6; John 9:5; Acts 13:47; 26:18.
Isaiah 49:6 ESV
6 he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
John 9:5 ESV
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Acts 13:47 ESV
47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
Acts 26:18 ESV
18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
The light we have in us is a two-way light: it reflects the love of Christ that dwells within us (by our deeds) and provides a lamp to those still in darkness
8. sometimes—“once.” The emphasis is on “were.” Ye ought to have no fellowship with sin, which is darkness, for your state as darkness is now past. Stronger than “in darkness” (Ro 2:19).
How do these verses coincide with the notion of being in the world, but not of the world?
children of light—not merely “of the light”; just as “children of disobedience” is used on the opposite side; those whose distinguishing characteristic is light. Pliny, a heathen writing to Trajan, bears unwilling testimony to the extraordinary purity of Christians’ lives, contrasted with the people around them.
5:8–10. It would be a gross inconsistency for a Christian to participate in the flagrant sins of non-Christians. The Ephesian Christians were once just like those who are disobedient. But no longer! Rather than doing deeds of immorality, impurity, and greed, they should do deeds of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Christians are no longer darkness, but children of light. Therefore, we should do deeds of light, not darkness. Only as you walk in God’s light can you please him.
Verse 9 speaks of the Fruit of the Light. What does this sound familiar with?
5:9 Fruit of light is similar to fruit of the Spirit (cf.
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Compare with . What is the common theme here?
5:9 Refers to natural results. Rooted in Christ, the believer’s life should produce Christlike virtues.
9. fruit of the Spirit—taken by transcribers from Ga 5:22. The true reading is that of the oldest manuscripts, “The fruit of the light”; in contrast with “the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11). This verse is parenthetic. Walk as children of light, that is, in all good works and words, “FOR the fruit of the light is [borne] in [Alford; but Bengel, ‘consists in’] all goodness [opposed to ‘malice,’ Eph 4:31], righteousness [opposed to ‘covetousness,’ Eph 5:3] and truth [opposed to ‘lying,’ Eph 4:25].”
Ephesians 5:10 ESV
10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
Compare verse 10 with . What is the common theme here?
Without qualification they now belong to the Lord’s light (v. 8). Their conduct must produce that which corresponds to the nature of God (contrast v. 3), and a knowledge of what pleases Christ (i.e., a knowledge of how he conducted himself during his earthly ministry) is instrumental in living this way (vv. 9–10).
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
5:10 Believers are called to adopt Christ’s standards and desires as their own. Compare Rom 12:1–2.
The Bible gives general principles for life, not always specific for every situation. But followers of Christ must use wisdom to discern how to apply those principles to the concrete issues of their lives.
Verses 10–11 describe three further aspects of such a life. First, living as light means discerning (HCSB) those daily choices that please God (v. 10; cf. Rm 12:2; Php 1:10).
Go to
Ephesians 5:11–14 ESV
11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 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.”
Do you think verse 11 means we should go around pointing out other people’s sins?
Mention co-worker’s statement on not for me to say what is sinful
Expose means either to reprove or to convince through argument and discussion (also v. 13), at the same time taking great care not to gossip or to slander others. Instead, Christians should show by their lives and their wise interactions that the works of darkness are not to be ignored among God’s holy people.
How can you tie to this section of Scripture?
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
Verse 11 in the KJV reads “Have no fellowship”. This coincides with the difference of being in he world and not of
Verse 11 in the KJV reads “Have no fellowship”. This coincides with the difference of being in he world and not of
“Have no fellowship,” does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse ( , but “avoid such fellowship as will defile yourselves”; just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light detects it, so, “even reprove sin.”
5:11 Refers to the illicit behavior Paul mentioned in Eph 5:3–5. Such actions are characteristic of sin and death (v. 8).
1 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1 Corinthians 5:8–10 ESV
8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
“Have no fellowship,” does not imply that we can avoid all intercourse (1 Co 5:10), but “avoid such fellowship as will defile yourselves”; just as light, though it touch filth, is not soiled by it; nay, as light detects it, so, “even reprove sin.”
Earlier I asked you about going around pointing out the sins of people. But what about within the church body?
Paul may be referring to exposing the sins of church members, because the church is responsible to hold its members accountable for their lifestyles. If a Christian lives in flagrant, unrepentant sin, the church is to try to get them to turn from their sin (; ).
The context is dealing with the disobedient. This would indicate that the church should attempt to expose the sins of the non-Christian, which would be a full-time job if done very thoroughly. Society’s major sins certainly need to be exposed.
Make a case for verses 13-14 as a call for evangelism. Look at
In addition to knowing one’s status and knowing and doing what pleases the Lord, enlightened living includes a strict refusal to have any share in what does not please him. The other side of avoiding participation in evil is exposing it, both by refusing to have a part in it and, positively, by doing the deeds which Christ would do; that is, by being a light in dark places (vv. 11–12).
Romans 13:12 ESV
12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
you being now light yourselves (), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your “armor of light” ( ) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
12. The Greek order is, “For the things done in secret by them, it is a shame even to speak of.” The “for” gives his reason for “not naming” (compare Eph 5:3) in detail the works of darkness, whereas he describes definitely (Eph 5:9) “the fruit of the light” [Bengel]. “Speak of,” I think, is used here as “speaking of without reproving,” in contrast to “even reprove them.” Thus the “for” expresses this, Reprove them, for to speak of them without reproving them, is a shame (Eph 5:3). Thus “works of darkness” answers to “things done in secret.”
ENLIGHTENMENT
But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your “armor of light” ( ) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
whatsoever doth make manifest—rather, “everything that is (that is, suffers itself to be) made manifest (or ‘shone upon,’ namely, by your ‘reproving,’ Eph 5:11) is (thenceforth no longer ‘darkness,’ Eph 5:8, but) light.” The devil and the wicked will not suffer themselves to be made manifest by the light, but love darkness, though outwardly the light shines round them. Therefore, “light” has no transforming effect on them, so that they do not become light (Jn 3:19, 20). But, says the apostle, you being now light yourselves (Eph 5:8), by bringing to light through reproof those who are in darkness, will convert them to light. Your consistent lives and faithful reproofs will be your “armor of light” (Ro 13:12) in making an inroad on the kingdom of darkness.
Romans 13:12 ESV
12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Christ—“the true light,” “the Su n of righteousness.”
give thee light—rather, as Greek, “shall shine upon thee” (so enabling thee by being “made manifest” to become, and be, by the very fact, “light,” Eph 5:13; then being so “enlightened,” Eph 1:18, thou shalt be able, by “reproving,” to enlighten others).
To do so has the effect of transforming darkness into light. Hidden dark deeds are exposed for what they are by the light of Christ shining out from his followers (vv. 13–14a).
As believers expose evil, some nonbelievers repent and are transformed from darkness to light. This change—indeed, conversion—is further described as awaking from sleep and rising from the dead (v. 14; cf. 2:1–4; ). In v. 14
5:14 it says. The quotation is not of any one OT passage but is probably a combined reference to several places, especially in Isaiah: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isa. 60:1; see 9:2; 26:19).
In verse 14, we are called to awaken. Can you recall hearing similar language in the Bible before? Look at The Parable of the Ten Virgins in ; ; .
5:14 This is not a direct quote from any ot passage. Paul might be alluding to Job 14:12 or Isa 26:19; he also might be borrowing from an early Christian hymn or traditions related to baptism. Sleep is a common metaphor for death.
Matthew 25:1–5 ESV
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
Romans 13:11 ESV
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
Awake—The reading of all the oldest manuscripts is “Up!” or, “Rouse thee!” a phrase used in stirring men to activity. The words are a paraphrase of , , not an exact quotation. The word “Christ,” shows that in quoting the prophecy, he views it in the light thrown on it by its Gospel fulfilment. As Israel is called on to “awake” from its previous state of “darkness” and “death” (; ), for that her Light is come; so the Church, and each individual is similarly called to awake.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV
6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
Believers are called on to “awake” out of sleep; unbelievers, to “arise” from the dead (compare ; ; , with ).
Matthew 25:5 ESV
5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
Romans 13:11 ESV
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 ESV
6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
Ephesians 2:1 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
The poetic passage in verse 14 may be a quote from an ancient hymn based on Scripture. It is not a direct scriptural quotation. A person who was participating in the deeds of darkness is to wake up and rise from the dead, meaning to turn from those deeds. Christ will shine on you may mean that Christ is pleased with the person who turns from such deeds. He is light and the source of their light. His shining light exposes all their darkness and transforms them into light.

TAKEAWAYS

Living in the light means continuously receiving the light. It is an ongoing process for the believer, as our sinful life gives way to a new life walking in the light of Christ.
We are the lamps and the light we emit represents our good works, which must be done solely for the purpose of glorifying our Father in heaven. The life we lead as Christians should be visible and obvious, not secret or hidden, and should represent a life not conformed to the world, but separate, or holy (Romans 12:1-2).
January 13, 2018
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Matthew 5:16 (ESV)
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
We are the lamps and the light we emit represents our good works, which must be done solely for the purpose of glorifying our Father in heaven. The life we lead as Christians should be visible and obvious, not secret or hidden, and should represent a life not conformed to the world, but separate, or holy (Romans 12:1-2).
Are you a lamp? Does the Spirit of God pour out of you in every thought, word, and action? We all have work to do in this area, but let us not allow our silent witness to the world tarnish the image of God by a daily walk mired in worldliness. Be a light for your family, for your co-workers, and for your community all the while recognizing we are only borrowing the light of our Lord and that it is not of ourselves; for to do otherwise relegates us to nothing more than a modern day Pharisee.
Are you a lamp? Does the Spirit of God pour out of you in every thought, word, and action? We all have work to do in this area, but let us not allow our silent witness to the world tarnish the image of God by a daily walk mired in worldliness. Be a light for your family, for your co-workers, and for your community all the while recognizing we are only borrowing the light of our Lord and that it is not of ourselves; for to do otherwise relegates us to nothing more than a modern day Pharisee.
Are you a lamp? Does the Spirit of God pour out of you in every thought, word, and action? We all have work to do in this area, but let us not allow our silent witness to the world tarnish the image of God by a daily walk mired in worldliness. Be a light for your family, for your co-workers, and for your community all the while recognizing we are only borrowing the light of our Lord and that it is not of ourselves; for to do otherwise relegates us to nothing more than a modern day Pharisee.
Notice also that Jesus puts an emphasis on our good works: it is not enough to simply sit in a pew once a week and passively ingest a sermon. We who profess Christ are called to use the light within us to share the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), while faithfully ministering to those lost and hurting.
Notice also that Jesus puts an emphasis on our good works: it is not enough to simply sit in a pew once a week and passively ingest a sermon. We who profess Christ are called to use the light within us to share the reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15), while faithfully ministering to those lost and hurting.
Let others see a difference in you. Let them see Christ in everything you think, say, and do so that those around you will want that light as well. This is why it is so important to understand God's purpose for our lives.
Let others see a difference in you. Let them see Christ in everything you think, say, and do so that those around you will want that light as well. This is why it is so important to understand God's purpose for our lives.
Reflect on your own life since accepting Christ: Has the new creation truly emerged dominant in your life? Or is the old man still winning the battle? We cannot serve both Light and darkness, sin and righteousness, self and God.
If you are struggling with understanding what it is God wants you to do for Him, please pray in earnest for such wisdom to come upon you. God wants to use you for His glory--He wants to let the light He has placed in you shine forth in a declaration that you are His and He is yours.
Do not hide your lamp.
It is in holiness where the life of the Holy Spirit draws us. This Spirit is of love, not religion; it is life, rather than rituals. It is a roadmap to the very presence of our Lord, a destination He has called us to be. It is an awesome thought to know that the same Spirit of the Creator now indwells in us, a Light for all the world to witness.
The question is, are we quenching this power?
Reflect on your own life since accepting Christ: Has the new creation truly emerged dominant in your life? Or is the old man still winning the battle? We cannot serve both Light and darkness, sin and righteousness, self and God.
Admit it or not, darkness still resides in all of us, as we are all still of the flesh. The world that surrounds us is filled with much darkness and its attempts to pull you in will never cease. We must therefore make conscious decisions to choose the Light of God.
You must decide to hate the darkness within you if you are ever to allow the new creation to rule your life (Luke 11:35-36). Place your hope in the Light of Christ so that our bodies become such a radiant light that darkness can find no home.
You must decide to hate the darkness within you if you are ever to allow the new creation to rule your life (Luke 11:35-36). Place your hope in the Light of Christ so that our bodies become such a radiant light that darkness can find no home.
When we see growth from leaving old sins behind, we can give thanks to God for maturing us, nurturing us, so we can in turn be a more effective witness to the world around us. Every sin that we become victorious over lets our Light shine brighter to a world that so desperately needs the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Persist in Him and His Word. Make becoming a disciple the most important priority in your earthly life so that your repentance becomes true instead of repetitive. Pray for God’s strength to remove these ugly habits from your life.
When we see growth from leaving old sins behind, we can give thanks to God for maturing us, nurturing us, so we can in turn be a more effective witness to the world around us. Every sin that we become victorious over lets our Light shine brighter to a world that so desperately needs the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The essence of holiness is indeed Light. The capacity is within us all, if only we will relinquish the world’s control over our lives.
The essence of holiness is indeed Light. The capacity is within us all, if only we will relinquish the world’s control over our lives.
Only when our spiritual life develops, will we see the old ways of sin fade into the background. If they are still pulling you as strong as ever, it is an indication that your spiritual maturity is stagnant and you are but a babe in Christ. The new life in Christ will put the old sin away—not because it must, but because it wants to.
August 06, 2017
A NEW CREATION
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
When someone accepts Christ into their heart as Lord and Savior, Paul reminds us that this person is now a new creature – born of the Spirit of God, something John also clarified when he distinguished a fleshly birth to a spiritual birth (John 3:6). Only through the gift of grace can the Holy Spirit generate in you a new creation as a spiritual man.
This is God’s salvation plan—to give man a new nature, an nature born of spirit that desires to live in a way that honors Him (2 Peter 1:4). Without this inner transformation of the heart, there is no hope of obedience. Consider someone who has the desire to be a thief. The desire exists in spite of a law that clearly opposes such action. If that same individual repents from his ways and truly desires to follow Christ, it is not the law that prevents him from stealing any more than it did before; but rather the love of Christ and a life transformed that prevents the behavior from taking action. This is the most important takeaway from what it means to be a new creation in Christ: the old desires have passed away and new one have taken their place.
Most certainly, a child of God will sin: we are still imperfect flesh, after all. But for the truly transformed the desire to sin has been abated. One of the more challenging verses in Scripture is 1 John 3:9 (emphasis added mine). The ESV version states this verse as: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” However the KJV reads, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
This is quite a difference. In reading different Greek scholars, there is an understanding the Greek word used here, poieō, does indicate a habitual or continuation, which would seem more correct. Although others can interpret this to be it is the spiritual man that does not sin, but only the natural man. This is likely what Paul was alluding to in 1 Corinthians 3:3.
When we become new creations, we are but babes in Christ. The spiritual life has been born, but it has not matured (). We still are under control of our carnal minds. Unfortunately, for some Christians, they stay stuck in this position and do not place a need for spiritual growth and discipleship as a high priority (; ).
And this is exactly what God does not desire of us. God wants us to know Him better through diligent study of His revelation to us through His Word. Only through a faith that grows, can we be developed by Him (Philippians 1:6).
Only when our spiritual life develops, will we see the old ways of sin fade into the background. If they are still pulling you as strong as ever, it is an indication that your spiritual maturity is stagnant and you are but a babe in Christ. The new life in Christ will put the old sin away—not because it must, but because it wants to.
When we’ve elevated ourselves in the darkness, it’s hard to humble ourselves in the light.
Remember, this new life is ours by faith. We grow by faith. We live by faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). You are a new creation if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Now it’s time to grow!
“I am the light of the world! The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (). While some of Jesus’ “I am” statements confused the Jews, the “following the light” imagery would have been familiar. God had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness with a pillar of fire so they could walk at night (). They couldn’t deflect or misunderstand this claim.
Jesus used this imagery to show the Jews that He offers clarity and meaning in a dark world. He offers life, grace, and spiritual awakening to those who are lost in the darkness. But the Pharisees couldn’t comprehend the light; they misinterpreted Jesus’ claims and fumbled around in the darkness and the details (, , , ).
When we’ve elevated ourselves in the darkness, it’s hard to humble ourselves in the light.

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