By Marc W. Gibson
A couple of months ago, I was having trouble getting a full night’s rest. There was nothing wrong with my own sleeping. Instead, my peaceful dreaming was being interrupted by outside interference, namely, cats. It seems a large, unsociable neighbor cat would visit our premises, intentionally unnerve and aggravate my wife’s cat who sleeps in a screened-in porch, and both of them would commence loud screaming and hissing. This disturbance continued night after night, and no amount of yelling, chasing, or throwing sticks would encourage this neighbor cat to stay home.
One characteristic of this cat struck me as interesting: it was only at night that he made his uninvited visits. Of course, night time is when cats do their best prowling. But, you see, I have never seen this cat in the daylight. It is almost as though he knows that the darkness holds the best shroud for his “bad” deeds. He certainly knows not to expose himself to my wrath in the daylight when I can see quite well. Darkness held a cover of protection that made him feel secure and confident as he carried out his intolerable tasks. Now please do not accuse me of being an ethical human judging a non-ethical animal. This whole episode does have a practical lesson. It reminded me of how careful and watchful we need to be in dealing with our religious neighbors and even our own brethren. Many around us seem to love the darkness more than the light. As Jesus said in John 3:19-21,
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
Workers of Darkness
As children of God waging spiritual warfare, we must be constantly on the alert for those who do as the cat I described: prowl in the darkness seeking to do trouble and harm. Jesus said darkness is what false teachers and evil doers prefer because their evil deeds are covered from view. These false teachers, evil workers, and workers of unrighteousness hate the light of God’s Word, for in it they are exposed for what they truly are (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Let us be further warned about the methods of “the rulers of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6:12). Those who do evil and dwell in darkness may venture into the light to deceive. Paul called them “deceitful workers” who “transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” just like Satan who “transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11: 13-15). This is similar to those schoolyard bullies who, when the teacher walked up, could turn into the sweetest children. It is hypocrisy! We truly must have our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). May we have the courage to strip away the sheep’s clothing and expose the wolf for what he is (Matt. 7:15). Send the light!
An Identifying Mark of Darkness
In my library, I have two and a half shelves of a bookcase holding nothing but debates, and nearly all of them were held and published by our brethren in the church of Jesus Christ. To me, they stand as a testimony of who is trying to seek truth. Check denominational libraries and publishing houses and see if you can find more than just a small number, if any, biblical debates fairly representing two sides of an issue. It has been extremely difficult for many years now to encourage those who differ with us on points of doctrine to honorably defend their position in open, fair discussion. This includes denominational preachers and leaders and our own brethren who were once in good standing with God’s Word but now teach false doctrine. Most godly preachers and teachers that I know would be ready and willing to defend God’s truth in open discussion at any place and time. Not so with those opposed to truth. Most of them laugh and scoff at the very suggestion or totally ignore it. Truly, the darkness “does not come to the light.”
Not too long ago, I looked at a Baptists preacher’s library which totaled approximately 8,000 volumes. He had no debates that I saw, even though many have been conducted with his false organization and its teachings. The point is that false teachers do not care. They do not care to won an account of a discussion of what they believe any more than they care to conduct one themselves. Brethren, may we never cease to pursue truth, whether in the pulpit, classroom, or in open discussion and debate. When we lose our interest in these methods, and avoid one or all opportunities, we are not better than those who “love darkness rather than light.” May the tribe of biblical defenders increase (1 Pet. 3:15), and many thanks to those who have stood strong in the past and those presently who continue to wield the sword of the Spirit courageously.
Standing Against Darkness
I must add a footnote to my story about that ornery cat I mentioned at the beginning. Recently, another large, male cat (that’s nice to everyone!) adopted himself to us. It is interesting that since he has been here, I have not seen or heard from that other troublesome cat. The greatest fear that those who dwell in darkness have is that someone will learn of their ways and stand ready to expose their every evil deed and word. We must be the ones who will take up the banner o f God’s army and instill that fear. We are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16) and we must let the light of God’s Word shine that all may see (Lk. 8:16). May the righteous rejoice and evil fear and repent.
Let us not be playing games with darkness. Preach the word in season and out of season and diligently encourage those who do so. Part of that work, remember, is negative. We must expose error. WE have been called “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Let us continue in the work for the sake of those lost in sin. Strive to walk in the light and be children of light (1 Jn. 1:7; Eph. 5:8). Be alert, ready to warn against and do battle with those who dwell in darkness. If we do not, how many more might they take with them into “outer darkness” (Matt. 25:30)? Truly did Isaiah say, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 6, p. 161, 185-186
March 21, 1991