By Connie W. Adams
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day (Gen. 1:1-5).
Before God brought form and life to the earth, darkness hovered over the waters which covered the earth. In God’s wisdom, it would require light for life to be sustained. Light was a good thing. It dispelled darkness.
Light and Darkness
It is no accident that the Holy Spirit chose light and darkness to stand for good and evil. There is something ominous about darkness. What lurks in the blackness? Light unfolds the mystery. What can be seen can be understood.
Prophecy — a Light in a Dark Place
New Testament writers described the Old Testament period as a mystery, something not fully revealed. Paul spoke of his role in that mystery. It was “revealed” to him in words which could be read and understood. His work was “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:2-9). Peter identified prophecy as “a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19). The dawning of the day was the arrival of the gospel age and the “day star” was Christ. Malachi referred to the coming one as “the Sun of righteousness” who would “arise with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2). The fulness of that divine plan was not comprehended even by those prophets who emitted these bursts of light in this dark place. Peter said these prophets wondered “what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow” (1 Pet. 1:9-12). Even as there was light divided from darkness before God made the sun, moon, and stars, even so prophecy was divine light shining in a world that anxiously awaited the rising of the Sun of righteousness.
Christ, the Light of the World
When Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied after the birth of John, he pointed to the one for whom John came to make preparation. He said, “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). If you want to know what great darkness engulfed the world when Jesus came into it, you have but to read Romans 1:18-32. The Gentile world had abandoned the knowledge of God, pursued their own will and degenerated into unspeakable spiritual and moral darkness. Paul said their “foolish heart was darkened” (v. 21). The Jews at least had their prophets with their light shining in the dark place of Old Testament history, but they had ignored God’s law and were in darkness also. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
It was time for God to say “Let there be light.” And there was light. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for this light. “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:6-9).
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 1:12). The process of coming to Christ is described in terms of being “delivered out of the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of affliction” (Heb. 10:32). The eyes of the Ephesians were said to have been “enlightened” (Eph. 1:18).
The lost are yet in the darkness of sin. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). All who reject Christ are yet in darkness. Those who believe and obey him have been “called out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
“This Little Light of Mine — Let It Shine”
The world in which we live is filled with the darkness of sin and error. People are fumbling and groping about, frustrated, perplexed, wondering what life is all about. Some have sought light in human reason thinking that “man is the measure of himself.” Others have turned to hedonism thinking that light may be found in fleshly gratification. Some have lost themselves in materialism thinking that life consists in the abundance of things. Nations continue to make war with each other. Within our own nation there are serious polarizations between rich and poor and between races. Moral standards have shifted, crumbled and sometimes become non-existent to many of our people. In the face of all this darkness it is time to say “let there be light.” Christ is still the light of the world. But he is now in heaven at the right hand of God. Still, his light is revealed not only in the Scriptures but in the hearts and lives of Christians.
Jesus said of those who would follow him: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16). The words, attitudes and deeds of Christians must be clearly seen by those who sit in darkness. It is not just a better way, it is the only way. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). It is imperative that Christians not dim their light or obscure it altogether. A clear difference must be seen between the lives of those who serve Christ and those of the world about us. That is why Paul said, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thess. 5:5). He also said, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:8-11).
Brethren, there is no place for hand holding between darkness and light. There must be a clear distinction for all the world to see. Those who compromise with the world of sin and error have blurred or dimmed the light which that very world must see clearly in order to be delivered from its power. Let there be light.
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