Becoming Children of Light
The contrasting images of light and darkness appear throughout the Bible. Christ is the light of the world and those who place their trust in him are called children of the light.
"You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." (1 Thess. 5:5)
The teachings of Mormonism provide an altogether different picture.
In the recent edition of Ensign magazine (August, 2014), Craig C. Christianson gives the LDS interpretation on how to become children of light. Mormons are encouraged to stay on the path of following Christ. By doing so, they can learn to grow and gain even more light. It is more than just avoiding darkness by making good choices or obeying the commandments. To become children of light, they must follow "the teachings of His chosen prophets." This means accepting the Living Prophet's invitation to "strengthen our commitment to live the gospel." Just like the LDS teachings on conversion and repentance, becoming children of light is a long, difficult process. Through the Mormon gospel, people can "become what children of God are supposed to become. This spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of ... right choices, and from continuing repentance." (Dallin H. Oaks, "The Challenge to Become," Ensign, Nov., 2000, pgs. 32-3)
How does this compare to what the Bible teaches?
Those who have placed their trust in the promises of God and the completed work of Jesus Christ are children of light. That is the declaration given in 1 Thess. 5:5. You are children of the light.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
The status of being a child of light is not a matter of becoming, but being who you are in Christ. Good deeds and glorifying God are a direct result of being rooted in Christ.
In the very next verse (v. 17), Jesus says, "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Jesus did not come to be an example or to take away the law. He came to fulfill the law. Throughout Matthew 5, Jesus teaches the standard for those people intent on following God's commands to become righteous. "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)
By his perfect obedience, Jesus became our substitute by sacrificing his perfect life in place of our sinful disobedience. Faith alone receives the benefits of Christ's work including redemption and the forgiveness of sins. This is the gospel message.
For a Mormon, to become a child of God the emphasis is on the person to become a child of the light. For a Christian believer, the entire emphasis is on Christ.
We can share with Mormons that we are already a child of the light because of what Christ has already done for us.