The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 5:8 ~ Walk as Children of Light; The Doctrine of Darkness ~ The Doctrine of Light, Pt. 1

Vol. 16 No. 5 – January 29, 2017

 Eph 5 vs 8 for 1 23 17 notesVs. 8, The contrast between our former life as an unbeliever and our present life as a believer.

Eph 5:8, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.”

For you were formerly,” is the postpositive Conjunction GAR, γάρ meaning, “for” that is used for continuation of the previous topic of the sinful lifestyle, as well as giving us the reason, cause, or grounds for why we should walk in our new nature and be “imitators of God.”

With this is the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of EIMI, εἰμί that means, “you were.” It is a stative customary Imperfect for the state of being an unbeliever in the past who continually operated in sin or under the control of the Old Sin Nature. This is emphasized with the Indefinite Adverb Particle POTE, ποτέ that means, “at some time or another, once upon a time, or formerly.” Here it asks the believer to recall what he was like as an unbeliever. This and the Active Voice with the Indicative Mood of EIMI, tells us that these believers, as all believers, used to walk outside of God’s Plan, when they were unbelievers inside of Satan’s cosmic kingdom, termed here as “darkness,” SKOTOS, σκότος meaning, “dark, darkness, or gloom.” It reminds us of Eph 4:18, “darkened in their understanding.”

SKOTOS, “darkness,” is used over 30 times in the NT. It is used here and in vs. 11, as well as elsewhere in Scripture. Here it is in the Predicate Nominative, Neuter, Singular. It addresses evil and death by a lesser term, “darkness.” In classical Greek writings, darkness typically implied the inability to see and thus the inability to know how to walk, John 12:35. From this, “darkness” implied a sense of anxiety or apprehension of what lay ahead. Therefore, darkness and its ominous character became linked to the ultimate anxiety; death. Therefore, we see the unbeliever who walks in their spiritually dead state, living in sin.

In addition, metaphorically “darkness” denotes “ignorance or obscurity,” and it has come to describe the human condition or behavior that is absent of God and His Word. Therefore, we see darkness representing being ignorant of God’s Word, and light meaning having the awareness of God’s Word, (i.e., being “awake,” vs. 14).

The Doctrine of Darkness

  • It depicts evil as a reality that has power, Luke 22:53.
  • The contrast between darkness and light is first noted in the restoration of planet earth, Gen 1:2-5, which represents the separation of evil, Satan, and his followers from God and holiness and righteousness.
  • All men are being influenced by the principalities, authorities, and rulers of “darkness,” (Satan’s demonic forces that rule his cosmic system), Eph 6:12
  • The world and its ways are darkness, but Jesus is the light, John 1:5; 8:12; 12:35.

John 8:12, “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life’.”

  • When we are morally or spiritually ignorant of God’s Word, it is called darkness, Rom 2:19. Cf. Luke 1:79; 11:35; John 3:19; Acts 26:18; 2 Cor 6:14; Col 1:13; 1 Thes 5:4-5; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:6.
  • Jesus taught that the “sound eye” permits light’s entrance, but the “evil eye” makes the whole body “darkness,” Mat 6:22ff. Here darkness is evil and “sound” is light and good.
  • It depicts those who are spiritually dead and devoid of God’s Word in contrast to those who “are light,” i.e., spiritually alive, born again, and have Bible doctrine in their souls, Eph 5:8. Other passages referring to the unbeliever in a state of darkness include, 1 Sam 2:9; Isa 42:7; 49:9; John 8:12; 13:30; Rom 1:21; Col 1:13.

John 13:30, “it kept on being night”, symbolically signifies the darkness of Judas Iscariot’s heart, his soul was black as night. This then was the hour for the power of darkness to perform, cf. Luke 22:53. Therefore, we are warned to not let the power of darkness overtake our souls.

Luke 22:53, “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

  • Evil and degeneracy start with a thought. Therefore, darkness exists in the thought pattern of the soul, Mat 6:23; 15:18-19.

Mat 6:23, “But if your eye is evil, the entire body is full of darkness (cosmic involvement).”

  • Evil loves the darkness and hates the light; Job 24:13; John 1:5; 3:16-21; 8:12; 12:35, 46.

Job 24:13, “They have been with those who rebel against the light; They do not want to know its ways, nor abide in its paths.”

  • Going from darkness to light begins by faith in Jesus Christ, and is the work of God, Isa 9:2; Mat 4:16; Acts 26:18; Col 1:13.


Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.”

Col 1:13, “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

  • Bible Doctrine resident in the Soul protects the believer from the evils of darkness, 2 Sam 22:29; Psa 18:28; Prov 2:10-15; 2 Cor 4:6.

2 Sam 22:29 and Psa 18:28, “For You are my lamp, O LORD; and the LORD illumines my darkness.”

2 Cor 4:6, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

  • Having been removed from the domain of darkness, we are to be heralds of God and our Lord, 1 Peter 2:9.

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

  • Those in the light have nothing in common with those living in darkness, 2 Cor 6:14; Eph 5:11; 1 Thes 5:4.
  • Judgement is related to darkness, Deut 28:29; 1 Sam 2:9; Prov 20:20; Isa 5:20; Mat 8:12; 22:13; 25:30, (the outer darkness); 2 Peter 2:4, 17; Jude 1:6, 13.

Isa 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”

  • Ultimately, darkness will be the punishment of the wicked, that is, separation from God, 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13, and in that place of punishment there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Mat 8:12.
  • Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will live where there is no darkness, i.e., “night,” Rev 21:25; 22:5.
  • There the influences and effects of “darkness” are forever conquered by the Lamb who is the “light” of the city, Rev 21:23, and His glory will shine over His redeemed, Rev 22:5.

Now that the soul is saved, the condition of the unbeliever’s soul should no longer exist. As unbelievers, we were in darkness, yet now our soul is saved as of the moment we believe in Jesus Christ; therefore, light ought to characterize the soul. As we will see, light refers to Bible doctrine in the soul. If the believer lives a normal Christian life and functions in a normal, progressive, growing way, then he will have the light of God in the soul.

Next, we have, “but now you are light in the Lord.” This is our position in Christ; our positional sanctification, being in Union with Jesus Christ that is meant to encourage us to walk, “as children of light,” which is our experiential sanctification.

It begins with “but now,” DE NUN which contrasts the first half of this verse, the former life of the believer as an unbeliever in “darkness,” with what is about to follow, the current and future life of the believer being “light.” So, it is a contrast between being an unbeliever in the past and a believer in the present on into the future.

You are light,” is simply the Predicate Nominative Noun PHOS, φῶς that means, “light or sometimes source of light.” Here it is telling of our new position in Christ being made a “new man” with the analogy of being “light.”

Figuratively, in poetic writings especially, light stands for the “life” of man. It also represents intellectual “illumination.” Light illumines; thus, it represents knowledge, insight, and understanding. Metaphorically, it denotes “victory, deliverance,” and thus “happiness.” Used in literature and Scripture, light denotes good in contrast to “dark or darkness” that represented evil, as well as life versus death, as we noted above in this verse. All are in view in regards to the believer in Jesus Christ; his position and his spiritual life, as we are also commanded to “walk as children of light,” PERIPATEO HOS TEKNON PHOS.

PERIPATEO is in the Present, Active, Imperative as a command for the believer to habitually or customarily live today and every day inside of God’s Power System, GPS. We are live in the position in which we have been created by God. We are “light in the Lord” and we need to live in the light of God each day.

As such, having been given the position and power of being “light in the Lord,” we are commanded to “walk as children of light,” which means we are command to achieve experiential sanctification throughout our spiritual lives here on earth.

Walk” actually comes at the end of the Greek sentence. It is PERIPATEO once again, which we have seen and noted in Eph 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; and 5:2.

As imitators of God, in Eph 5:2 we were commanded to walk in AGAPE Love, now we are command to walk “as children of light,” HOS TEKNON PHOS, which means experiential sanctification.

Likewise, in Eph 5:1 we are called the “beloved children,” of God, here we are called “children of light,” where TEKNON, τέκνον is used in both passages. As we noted in vs. 1, TEKNON has the connotation of not just “children,” but also a “student” in the analogy of a teacher and a student. The teacher trains the student so that the student will have the same knowledge as the teacher does, so that the student can apply that knowledge to life. That is what God desires for all of His TEKNON. He desires that we learn the knowledge He has given to us in His Word, so that we can apply it to life. When we do, we are not just light positionally, but we are also walking in light experientially.

Being light “in the Lord” EN KURIOS, is based upon Jesus’ statement about Himself in John 8:12, and His followers, Mat 5:14, being the “light of the world.”

John 8:12, “Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life’.”

Mat 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Therefore, having been given the position of being “light in the Lord,” we are also commanded to “walk as children of light,” that is to live in the light of God and Jesus Christ every day. That means with our positional sanctification, we must have experiential sanctification.

To the lost generation of Israel, Jesus said in John 12:36, “’While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light’…”

Paul commanded in Rom 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Just as our Lord commanded the believer in Mat 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Therefore, when we learn the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ and apply it to life, we are walking in His light as God’s beloved children/students.

The Doctrine of Light

Light is used in its literal sense in Scripture, but we also see the many analogies of light in Scripture that represents God the Father, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. It is also used to represent the Gospel message, Scripture itself, angels, the unique spiritual life of the believer, the Super-grace life of the believer, etc. As Darkness is the universal symbol and condition of sin and death; light is the symbol and expression of holiness and life. Below are some of the representations of light in regards to the spiritual life of the Church Age believer.

  • Light illustrates the essence of God, 1 John 1:5, God is light. Light is an attribute of holiness, and thus a personal quality of God. It is the outshining of Deity. Light demonstrates both the essence and personalities of the Godhead.

A fascinating analogy of the Trinity is found in light, which is a single phenomenon with three distinct properties:

a.) Actinic or radiating energy, especially in the ultraviolet spectrum. This speaks to the Father who is neither seen nor felt.
b.) Luminiferous, or illuminating. This speaks to the Son who is seen and felt.
c.) Calorific or heat producing. This speaks to the Holy Spirit who is felt but not seen.

All three members of the Trinity have their separate and distinct role, yet are one in essence. This is just one simple example of literal light, as we understand it, that represents God: three in one.

  • The literal use of light is necessary for man’s existence on the earth. This literal light is found in Gen 1:3; Ecc 11:7; Jer 31:35.
  • The Divine guidance of Israel was provided by God through light. Therefore, light signifies God’s provisions and leading, as well as signifying His protection, preservation, and blessings, Ex 10:23; 13:21; 14:20; Psa 78:14; Isa 42:16; Rom 13:12.

Ex 10:23, “They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.”

Ex 13:21, “And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”

Ex 14:20, “So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.”

Isa 42:16, “And I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”

Rom 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

  • God’s eternal promise is depicted by light, Isa 60:19-20; Zech 14:6-7; Col 1:12; Rev 21:24; 22:5.

Isa 60:19-20, “No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. 20Your sun will set no more, neither will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be finished.”

  • Light depicts God’s warning, discipline, and judgment, Isa 10:17; 13:10-11; 30:26; 50:11; Jer 25:10-11; 1 Cor 4:5; 2 Cor 6:14; 11:14; (warning), Rev 18:11.
  • The Justice of God is called light, Isa 51:4-5.

Isa 51:4-5, “Pay attention to Me, O My people; and give ear to Me, O My nation; for a law will go forth from Me, and I will set My justice for a light of the peoples. 5My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands will wait for Me, and for My arm they will wait expectantly.”

  • Jesus Christ, as the manifest Person of the Godhead, is light, John 8:12; 1 Tim 6:16.
  • The gospel is called light, 2 Cor 4:3-4; 2 Tim 1:10. Therefore, light also means “salvation,” especially for those living in darkness, often the Gentiles, e.g., Mat 4:16; Acts 13:47; 26:17,18; Eph 5:8; 1 Peter 2:9; but cf. John 3:19 of all men who love darkness; Acts 26:23 of both Israel and the Gentiles. The “light of the . . . gospel,” 2 Cor 4:4, penetrates our hearts and grants us insight or “knowledge” for salvation, 2 Cor 4:6.


If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

17-010 through 17-012



If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.

To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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