By Jeffery Kingry
“When I was young and bold and strong
Oh right was right, and wrong was wrong
My plume on high, my flag unfurled
I rode away to right the world.
“Come out, you dogs, and fight!” said I,
And wept there was but once to die.
“But I am old, and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and say “The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won —
The difference is small, my son.”
“Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.”
Dorothy Parker; 1936
Fourteen years., ago a great gospel preacher wrote ;a short article celled “Stand Back And Look.” In the face of increasing tides of worldliness and innovation that was sweeping the church, William Wallace sought to view out fruit in stemming that surge. He offered these words: “As we stand-back and take a look all we see is not discouraging. Militancy depends on some sort of a crusade. When a people feel embattled, they are more active when are lively and diligent. They fight well. So the forces of worldly influence within our ranks are faced with a mighty effort on behalf of the faith once for all delivered. We fight, we fight well, we fight successfully (Wallace, Gospel Guardian, Vol. 12 p. 120). In that same column Bill quoted from the pen of William Barrett, `A movement is alive and vital only when it is able to generate differences among its followers; when everybody agrees, we may be sure that it has declined into the stereotyped rigidity of death” (Wallace, “Beyond The Horizons”, Ibid).
One and a half decades later brother Wallace wrote, “To be in the light does not demand perfect illumination. One may sit in a lighted room where there are areas of dimness . . . There are areas of dimness in the life of one who “walks in the light”. . . A Christian may indeed cease to walk in the light and enter the domain of darkness. But sins in his life do not necessarily mean he has ceased to walk in the light. Walking in the light is not a matter of absolute moral and doctrinal perfection” (Wallace, Gospel Guardian, “What is Walking In The Light?”, Vol. 25, p. 740).
Truth And Conviction – Luke 11:33-36
Jesus spoke clearly to those men of “conviction” (11:27-29) concerning light and its relationship to men. “No man when he hath lighted a candle putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thy eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thy eye is evil thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no dark part, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light” (Luke 11:33-36).
Truth is. Truth comes from God and does not depend on men or miracles to be truth (11:29-32). The eloquence of men, or mighty signs may make the emotions better adapted to receive the truth-but these do not affect one way or another that which is as eternal and unyielding as its Source. Jesus said that truth is open and visible for all men. Truth is like a light placed upon a candlestick, visible for all who “come in to the light.” That which obscures, darkens, confuses, colors, or diminishes the light is not truth, but something else. Whatever reveals is light. Dimness is not revelation, it is obscureness.
Jesus said that there are certain qualities necessary in man before truth can be perceived and accepted for what it is. “The light of the body is the eye” (11:34). Jesus compares man’s physical eye with his moral eye. The physical eye must remain healthy if it is to perceive with any accuracy the object it considers: Whatever affects the eye will affect the impression of the object seen. Truth does not depend upon the eye, for it just is, but the moral “eye” which “sees” it may be near sighted, may suffer myopia, cataracts, or color blindness.
Truth may be presented to the moral eye of man and not be seen as truth because the eye is not whole. The moral part of man that perceives right and wrong is the intellect. His emotions are not satisfactory as receptive organs of truth. Only the intellect of man is capable of being the “light of the soul.”
It is for this reason that Jesus said that this part of man must be “single” (11:34). Man’s mind must be completely intent on knowing God’s will. If one “cannot” perceive truth, the fault lies not with the truth, but the eye which is unhealthy. The object seen must not change; the eye must become healthy. We accept by faith that those who embrace error do so because they are blind in their spiritual “eye,” no matter how sincere they may be in their protestations to the contrary (Tit. 1:16). The mind that is weak through the appetites of the flesh, or ignorant through the terrible mote of pride, prejudice, or sloth, is an “eye” closed to the light of God. Once the moral “eye” of man loses its focus upon God’s light, whatever the, cause, “when thy eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.”
Responsibility To Know Truth
“Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness” (11:35). One may have some light and still be in darkness, but one cannot have darkness and be in the light. Jesus is declaring that we have a responsibility to be “full of light”-not dimmed or colored by an unstable heart. It is a responsibility that each holds: “Take heed . . . .” We are responsible for what we believe, what we teach, what we practice. We must “walk by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7) and “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” God desires no blind, stumbling, confused saints. He has .given us light to see by. “So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word o.# God” (Rom. 10:17).
Hosea called Ephraim “a cake not turned” (Hos. 7:8), a people burned hard on one side and doughy soft on the other. That which is most tragic in any life is “partial illumination.” Jesus said “If you have light throughout your whole body with no trace of darkness, it shall be wholly illuminated as when a lamp brightens you with its rays” (11:36, NEB). Our collective undoing is the “half-baked” Christian: not fully dedicated, imperfectly sanctified in character, not fully aware of God’s will. We are plagued with saints who are as narrow as their own selfish desires, having never glimpsed the true horizons of the spirit, “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height . . . filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:17-19).
The Tragedy Of Blindness
Nothing is sadder or more provoking than a mighty man in physical strength reduced to blindness and impotence. Samson, in his humiliation, blinded., stripped of his mighty strength cried out to Jehovah in the presence of his enemies, “O Lord God, remember me I pray thee, and strengthen me, 1 pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28).
But how much more wretched, how sadly hopeless is the man who puts out his ownspiritual eyes-to whom can he go to regain the “light of the soul?”
Truth Magazine XVIII: 3, pp. 40-41
September 21, 1974