CHILDREN OF LIGHT
"Children of light." Ephes. 5:8
Light and darkness refer to our condition; the external circumstances in which we are placed. We may have our senses and powers of perception in all respects perfect; but darkness shuts out their exercise and use. When the light comes, it makes our state plain, and our way clear. Now we can move and act with safety and without fear. The Scripture calls spiritual ignorance, darkness; and spiritual knowledge, light. The one forbids the soul to act; the other enables it to act securely and well. "You were once darkness, but now are you light in the Lord." The revelation of the gospel has made all things plain for me. It is the true light, in which is no darkness at all. I now know my origin and my end; I know my need and my remedy; I know my dangers and my security. Without this gospel, spiritual ignorance covered every object which it was most important I should see. But with it, every path is clear. What a difference! What a change! How precious and important is its continuance! They who possess this gospel are the children of the light. I am one. God has made me so.
1. Now I see my WAY clearly. This is an inestimable blessing. An unspeakable privilege. The darkness has passed. The true light now shines. I see my guilt; it is great and dreadful. But I see also a complete forgiveness in a Savior's blood; it is all-sufficient. I see my dangers--they are many and pressing; but I see also a divine protection. God is reconciled, and on my side. This is enough. I see my weakness--it is destruction to me; but I see an infinite provision of divine strength. What need I more? I see death at hand--it is alarming to the flesh; but I see also a glorious and secure eternity beyond. Why should I fear? Thus everything is plain. I need make no mistake. My errors must all be voluntary. Nothing can be needed to make the path in which I am to go more intelligible. If I walk as a child of the light, I am safe. If I walk uprightly I walk securely. This is an inestimable privilege. Every possible blessing may flow out from it. Let me esteem and enjoy it, according to its worth.
2. Now I may WALK SECURELY. My path is perfectly plain; through IN the world--not OF the world. I have a journey to complete through a hostile country. I am forewarned of its dangers, and snares, and trials. It may be arduous. It may be difficult. It cannot be long. It need not be uncertain. If I walk with God, I shall surely walk safely and happily. I can walk with him, because he has promised to accompany me, and to show me the way I am to take. He lays out my path. He leads me in it. He supports me through it. He accepts me at its close. Let me press earnestly forward. My pilgrim days will soon be finished. I need have no doubt concerning their termination. I have no question to ask in reference to the future, which the gospel has not answered. I will have no doubt. Let me daily try to walk in the light--in a clear, undoubted path. I wish to make no compromises with sin, no reconciliation with the world, no concessions of any kind to the enemy. It is far easier to walk in straight than in crooked paths--far easier to walk consistently than inconsistently. Let me so walk, with my mind settled--my discernment clear--my heart unchanging and fixed. Thus shall I walk securely as well as happily.
3. Now I can WORK SUCCESSFULLY. I know what God would have me to do. The work of God is to believe on him whom he has sent. Salvation--this is God's work. This is my work. Salvation for myself. Salvation for others. Salvation for all. I have every means to work to advantage. Clear knowledge--abundant opportunities--secured strength--promised success--means all provided. How blessed it is to work for God in a clear and open day!
The heathen has no such day. Ah, what darkness covers his path! What cruelty attends his whole system! What anguish does he bear! The Papist has no such day. What vain and foolish superstitions fill his mind! What fearful idolatry marks his scheme of error! What useless forms and penances enslave his soul! How empty are all these works of human merit! But around me the true light shines. How clear and distinct are works of affectionate gratitude and love to Christ; who has redeemed me from all bondage, that I might serve him in newness and freeness of the Spirit!
4. But then, I am also SEEN CLEARLY. The very light which enables me to see, makes me also seen. I cannot be concealed. I must not desire to be. How many eyes watch me! Eyes of which perhaps I am entirely unconscious. I am never alone--never less so than when I seem to be so. I can never sin in secret. I ought not to desire to sin anywhere. My life must be a constant testimony. Ah, how much good a faithful example often does! How much evil an injurious one! But life is always an example of some kind. I am ever a spectacle. God looks to me. The Savior looks to me. Angels look to me. The church sees me. The world sees me. Devils see me. Ah, never alone--never unwatched! Always in the light. To be judged by the light and according to the light. I must not desire to be hidden. I must not need to be concealed. I must do nothing that requires concealment.
5. Thus when the light shines, they who are in it see clearly, walk securely, work successfully, and are seen completely. Let me carry out this remembrance. Let it be the rule, the warning, and the guide of my life. Thus, as a child of light, I may finish my journey in peace, while my day lasts; and enter upon a far brighter day hereafter.
No darkness there shall cloud my sight;
These now dejected, feeble eyes
Shall gaze with infinite delight
On the full glories of the skies.
Then I shall see your lovely face;
And change to purity divine,
Partake the splendors of the place,
And in your glorious likeness shine.