Awake, O Sleeper
Note: Today’s passage is Ephesians 5. I encourage you to take time to read this chapter. It is rich!
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
– Ephesians 5:8–14 ESV
As I read our chapter this morning, I saw something in a fresh light. I wanted to read verse 8, “you were in darkness, but now you are in the light.” It does not say that. If we were just IN the light after being IN the darkness, then our identity would be based on where we found ourselves. “Who are you?” “Well, right now I’m in the dark.” That is not true for the redeemed brothers and sisters!
God does not say, “You were IN darkness.” He says, “You WERE darkness.” In the gospel, he does not say, “You are IN light.” He says, “In Jesus Christ, YOU ARE LIGHT.” That is who you are. The gospel doesn’t just invite you to a new way of life, though it does do that. The gospel also transforms you into a new person. What a powerful salvation we have in Jesus! We who were darkness are now light. Then Paul calls us, in light of our identity, “Walk as children of the light and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
There are shameful deeds. And it is a tragedy when a Christian chooses to walk in them. Yet even when we fall and walk in darkness, the Father, through the Son, has placed his Spirit in you to radiate his light. If you have received the gift of Christ in the gospel, the three-in-one God has made a covenant to you that you are light. So now, walk like one who is light! As those whom Christ has redeemed, the darkness of our sinful hearts should be exterminated by the bright light that Christ has placed within us. This is not easy, but it is the path to joy in the light of Christ. So Paul quotes the hymn from his day, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” This is the gospel call. “Wake up!” This is our daily call. Do not live as though you are still darkness! Let the light of Christ shine on you today live as though you are light!
Brothers and sisters, we are the light of Christ on this earth. We don’t participate in the sins our culture loves that bring darkness. Shine! Shine as someone who has found full joy and satisfaction in Jesus Christ. Shine like someone who knows that at the core of your being, God has declared, “You are light!”