|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:3-14 Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of. But these things are so far from being profitable. that they pollute and poison the hearers. Our cheerfulness should show itself as becomes Christians, in what may tend to God's glory. A covetous man makes a god of his money; places that hope, confidence, and delight, in worldly good, which should be in God only. Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. When the vilest transgressors repent and believe the gospel, they become children of obedience, from whom God's wrath is turned away. Dare we make light of that which brings down the wrath of God? Sinners, like men in the dark, are going they know not whither, and doing they know not what. But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God's holy law. After the example of prophets and apostles, we should call on those asleep and dead in sin, to awake and arise, that Christ may give them light.
Verse 8. - For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord. Another expressive "but." To make the contrast more emphatic, it is not said, "ye were in darkness, but are now in light;" but, "ye were darkness itself, and are now light itself," and this last is explained by the usual formula, "in the Lord." There was a celebrated Ephesian philosopher, Alexander, who was called "The Light;" but not from that source had the light come. The idea of light-giving is also involved in their being light. "Arise, shine, for thy light is come." Walk as children of light. Another expressive image, denoting close connection with light, as if they were actually born of it; hence their lives should be full of it. The figure connecting darkness with sin and light with purity, common to all languages, underlies the exhortation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For ye were sometimes darkness,.... Not only dark, but darkness itself; exceeding blind, dark, and ignorant, respecting spiritual things; so the Gentiles were wont to be called by the Jews, "darkness" (k) itself; of this darkness; see Gill on Ephesians 4:18.
But now are ye light in the Lord; either in, or by the Lord Jesus Christ, the light of men, from whom all spiritual light comes; or by the Lord the Spirit, by whom the eyes of their understandings were enlightened, to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, in heart and life; the insufficiency of their own righteousness and moral virtues, to justify them before God; and the true and right way of righteousness, life and salvation by Christ; and to have some light into the several doctrines of the Gospel, and even a glimpse of the invisible glories and realities of another world: and this light is so great, that they are not only said to be enlightened, but to be light itself; and this they have not of, and from themselves, but the Lord; and therefore should
walk as children of light; not in sins, which are works of darkness, but in faith, truth, and holiness.
(k) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 1. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
light—not merely "enlightened"; but light enlightening others (Eph 5:13).
in—in union with the Lord, who is THE LIGHT.
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.
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