‘Be careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ ~ Ephesians 5:15
Humans are governed by time, but in the spiritual realm there is only day and night. As we live in a fallen world, though there is light from the sun to distinguish day and night, spiritually speaking, the days are considered night. In other words, the days are evil. A darkened humanity, comes to a darkened world to exist in dark days, evil days. Jesus says, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light’ (John 11:9). In our default mode, we walk in darkness and have no spiritual light. We stumble because the world radiates to us no inner light. In other words, humanity is ‘darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the blindness of their hearts’ (Ephesians 4:18). Paul notes that ignorance is the main cause of us walking in darkness, fuelled by our natural state of blindness as we enter into the world.
It is only by coming to a true understanding can we have our spiritual eyes opened and walk in the light. Walking in the light means that we avoid stumbling in our own darkness and in the world’s darkness. By coming to an understanding of the magnitude of the world’s darkness and more importantly, the source of light, can we then be reconciled with God and truly walk in the light. Understanding the magnitude of our darkness does require any telling or training because ‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’ (Galatians 5:19-21). Paul just scratches the surface mentioning deeds and acts that we encounter in these evil days, some of which we ourselves have even practised at one point of our lives. This list is not exhaustive, but exposes the magnitude of the darkness. ‘For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret’ (Ephesians 5:12).
Once we lift the cover and behold the extent of the darkness within and around us, we are presented with two options; accept the darkness and remain in it, or turn to the light. Those who do not like the darkness start to search for the light. Unfortunately, in these evil days, many sources promise light, and many turn to counterfeit lights. Some search for the light in science, religion, creation, wealth, occult, worldliness, apathy, sensuality (whatever feels right), and all sorts of falsities. However, these counterfeit lights do nothing to rid the darkness. Jesus remarks, ‘If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matthew 6:23). Only those with understanding from the right source can receive the true light. So what is the true light? Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).
Amidst other claims of light, one may wonder how sure that Jesus is in fact the One and Only light. But Jesus simply responds, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going’ (v14). So, we only need to walk with, and observe Jesus through His Word to see for ourselves that He is the true light of the world, because the light is infectious. Only those who get knowledge and understanding from the right Source soon make the realization that, ‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit’ (Romans 8:16) that Jesus is indeed the true light. Of course, many have discredited the Bible without even flipping a page of it, leave alone reading it from cover to cover, and so remain in ignorance, in darkness. Jesus even notes, ‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God’ (John 3:19-21).
Jesus knows that the verdict is settled, because many ‘refuse to come to me to have life’ (John 5:40). Although it is God’s will for ‘all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4), man has free-will to choose between ‘life and death’ (Deuteronomy 30:19). Believing and accepting Jesus means that we are born anew so that ‘all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12). We then become ‘light in the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:8) and so ‘Live as children of light’ (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth)’ (v8-9). Living as children of light is wise-living because it is not conforming ‘any longer to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). Because then, one will be able to ‘test and prove what God’s will is – his good, acceptable, and perfect will’ (v2). And it is only by living in the will of God, by faith and obedience in Christ Jesus, can we escape the wrath reserved for the dark and evil world, because we ‘shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).
Those who refuse to come to Jesus, the Light, continue to walk in darkness of their minds and in darkness of the evil days. For ‘the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The repercussion of walking in darkness is that ‘there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen’ (Luke 8:17-18). This is because ‘everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible’ (Ephesians 5:13-14). When Jesus, the Light, comes to uncover the darkness and rid it once and for all, He ‘will give to everyone according to what he has done’ (Revelation 22:12). Those who loved their darkness and that of the world because they lingered in it will be ‘cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 22:13). They will be sent to the outer darkness for eternity. ‘Blackest darkness is reserved for them’ (2 Peter 2:17), a darkness darker than what is in these evil days.
‘As long as it day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’ ~ John 9:4