The Apostle Paul contrasts darkness and light. He tells us: "You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Darkness is associated with sin, death, ignorance, and unbelief. Light is the language of righteousness, life, knowledge, and faith. One is the fallen state of humans, dead in sin apart from God. The other is the condition of grace, in which people have a living relationship with God. The Bible compares darkness and light, old and new, dead and alive, lost and found to talk about life apart from Christ versus life in Christ. This week we will consider the darkness, and next week we will examine the light.
We start with the darkness because that was the starting point of the whole world (Genesis 1:2). Paul strongly states, "You were once darkness." Not just "You were in darkness," but "You were darkness." Darkness was our very nature, or at least our fallen sinful nature, corrupted by original sin, lacking the true knowledge and fear of God. Darkness is who we were. This world and the values of the world system are aligned against God and his ways. Paul describes this world of darkness in three words: disobedient, deceptive, and deadly. "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 5:6).
The darkness of this world is deceptive, trying to entice Christians back into the darkness. Paul warns, "Let no one deceive you with empty words." The world whispers in our ears: "It's all right; nobody's watching. Times have changed; don't be so uptight. You deserve to have some fun!" Popular culture speaks to us through various voices, including media, government, academe, cinema, television, and advertising: "There are no absolute standards of right and wrong. Do whatever feels good and makes you happy. You're worth it." These lies are just variations of what the original deceiver whispered into the ears of Adam and Eve, and humans have been falling for it ever since (1 John 2:16). The darkness is deceptive.