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μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν· ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος, νῦν δὲ φῶς έν κυρίῳ· ὡς τέκνα φωτὸς περιπατεῖτε – ὁ γὰρ καρπὸς τοῦ φωτὸς ἐν πάσῃ ἀγαθωσύνῃ καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ – δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε. Therefore, do not become partakers of them; for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light in all goodness and righteousness and truth–test what is acceptable to the Lord, and do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather also expose.
After having encouraged the readers and listeners not to participate in immoral activity or speech, Paul now exhorts them to stand in stark contrast with the ones who do not believe. Those who do not believe, the disobedient, the ones who are bringing God’s wrath, they are here identified metaphorically as “darkness.” Paul commands his readers, “Do not become partakers of them.” In other words, Paul is saying that they should not share in their behavior and so be identified among them. The readers have been approved for salvation, not for wrath; their behavior should reflect such approval, lest they share in the wrath of God. Paul explains himself here: “for you were formerly darkness . . .” In the past, the readers did at one point share in the deeds of the disobedient, but in the present it is not so. Paul continues: “. . . but now you are light in the Lord . . .” The readers and listeners are made to be light in Christ. We see a metaphor consisting of polar opposites here. Christ makes people light amidst a sea of darkness. Paul exhorts them to walk as children of light, for they are in Christ. If one is in Christ, that one should not be living as the disobedient ones do. Such action does not compute. If one is in Christ, they are made to be light, and their actions should reflect that transformation. And what is the acceptable actions of the light? Paul says, “. . . for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth . . .” Paul is identifying the consistency of the fruit that is produced by children of light. Such fruit consists of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Those who are in Christ should be living lives the radiate with goodness, righteousness, and truth. Walking as children of light not only includes radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth, but it also involves testing. Believers are supposed to test or approve what is acceptable to the Lord. In all things, children of light are to examine what they are about to do and determine if it would be pleasing to the Lord. Furthermore, children of light are not to take part in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather, they are also to expose them. “To expose” is to place under scrutiny and so disapprove. The way the children of light live acts as an accusation in itself against the unfruitful deeds of the disobedient, so exposing them; the deeds of the former scrutinize and disapprove of the deeds of the latter.
Therefore, do not become sharers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light–for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth–testing what is acceptable to the Lord, and do not take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Is your life a litmus test for the not so distant onlookers? The way you live matters. Not only does God care about how you live, but your life acts as a testimony. By living in such a way that you are carefully examining your deeds to make sure that you are pleasing God, you can radiate goodness, righteousness, and truth. By radiating such things, your life will then act as a beacon, a warning signal, for those whose life is not characterized by the fruitful works of the light. The simple truth of the matter is this: we are called to live to please God, and in so doing we are likewise called to live as a testimony to all those who are not in right standing with God. In Christ we are made to be light, even though we were formerly darkness. But we are also to help spread that light. Furthermore, our identity is made clear by our actions. If we who have been made light begin to associate ourselves with our former identity, will we not incur the wrath of God, which is coming on the sons of disobedience? We should not be associated with the darkness; we should be associated with the light, and by this we mean our actions are to reflect the inner transformation of the heart. Therefore, when we act, while we live, we should be testing ourselves, asking, “Is what I am about to do good, righteous, and true? Would it be pleasing to God?” God has called us to a life of good works. God has called us to emulate him, and he is righteous. We have also been called to speak to each other with the truth. Are we fulfilling the good works God has called us to do? Are we emulating God? And are we people of the truth? If we are truly children of light, such things would confirm our identity. And such actions in themselves expose the unfruitful deeds of the darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Likewise, it is fruitless, and therefore absent of good fruit. We were once darkness, void, and fruitless, but now we are light, so let’s proclaim it to the world through our actions.