The Bible presents a clear path to eternal life. First, we must recognize that we have sinned against God: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are displeasing to God, which makes us deserving of punishment. Since all our sins are ultimately against an eternal God, only an eternal punishment is sufficient. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
However, Jesus Christ, the sinless (1 Peter 2:22), eternal Son of God became a man (John 1:1,14) and died to pay our penalty. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ died on the cross (John 19:31-42), taking the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days later He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving His victory over sin and death. “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
By faith, we must change our mindset regarding Christ— who He is, what He did, and why — for salvation (Acts 3:19). If we place our faith in Him, trusting His death on the cross to pay for our sins, we will be forgiven and receive the promise of eternal life in heaven.
If you’ve ever lost power at night, you know how disorienting it can be to try and find your way to a flashlight or candle. You think you’re heading for a doorway but unexpectedly bump into a wall. This is what our life was like before we met the Light of the World. In fact, we didn’t even know what real light was and had become comfortable in the darkness because it kept us from seeing how sinful we truly were.
An amazing transaction occurred when we finally believed the gospel, repented of our sins, and confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We were rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Light. And now Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, has come to dwell within us (Col. 1:13; Eph. 3:17). So how are Christ’s followers supposed to live? Today’s passage outlines three basic responsibilities:
1. Walk in love (Ephesians 5:1-2). As the Savior sacrificially loved us, so we are to love others. If we are at odds with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t claim to be walking in Light (1 John 1:7).
2. Abstain from sin (Eph. 5:3-7). Believers aren’t sinless, but they don’t habitually practice deeds of darkness.
3. Learn what pleases God (Eph. 5:8-17). The fruit of Light is goodness, righteousness, and truth. These are displayed in our character, conversation, and conduct when we are living out our faith.
Let’s make it our aim to move ever closer to the Light, letting Jesus expose and remove any areas of darkness so we can reflect His glory and goodness.
What’s the highest honor you’ve ever received? Good grades in school? A Blue Ribbon for the best pie at the county fair? Graduating at the top of your class? If you think about it, all these honors are about you and me. As believers in the Almighty God we know the top honor should always go to God and none other.
The Word of God describes believers, that’s us, as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), soldiers (2 Tim. 2:3), and saints (Eph. 2:19) but, the highest honor we can receive is to be called servants of the Most High God. From the world’s perspective, those who die to self in order to follow the Lord may stand in last place—in reality, however, they are first in His kingdom. (See Matt. 20:16.)
Sadly, today service to God is often equated solely with what goes on at church. The preacher serves. The choir serves. The worker in the soup kitchen serves. But the guy pushing papers and the woman cleaning up others’ messes tend to be seen as simply doing their jobs. From the Father’s vantage point, though, work well done brings as much glory to His name as a song lifted in praise. (See Col. 3:23-24.) So take heart—if you’re doing quality work and striving to make an impact on those around you, then you are serving God.
Service to the Lord is not about what we do, but rather how well we do all that the Lord has given us to accomplish (1 Peter 4:10). A good servant shares both Jesus Christ’s attitude of humility and His motivation to reach people with the love of God.