Paul gives us a list of what characterizes a non-believer in contrast to true believers. The Ephesians were new converts, still learning and growing in faith. They had recently come out of idolatry and had many old habits to rid themselves of as they endeavored to grow more and more like their Savior, Jesus. Paul was very forthright with them letting them know what behaviors were OUT and would not be tolerated or found in God’s Kingdom.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do.
8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
In the midst of this list of things to avoid you find verse 4b, let there be thankfulness and 8 be people of the light! Paul wants them, and us, to know that belonging to Christ, being a believer involves a life filled with thankfulness and light! Praise God! God does not want us to cling to old sinful behaviors and attitudes but to shed them and walk in His light. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” He is the light that dispels all darkness and evil. I love 1 John 1:5 and 7 “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. 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.” There is hope, forgiveness and life in the light of Jesus. Choose to walk in it and be ready to be clean, whole and made right with God.
Paul wanted them and us to see the contrast between their former lives and their new life in Jesus. Light and dark, hope and despair, freedom and condemnation, forgiveness and being held by sin, Christ makes all the difference in the focus and direction of our lives. Listed side by side light overwhelms darkness. Light is open, pure, holy and welcoming and the darkness of sin brings shame, hiding and imprisonment. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can choose light and life with Him. Choose the light of Jesus today.