When I was but a wee lad, I was afraid of the dark. I wanted a light on at night. I was afraid to walk through a dark room. After all, who knows what creatures might be waiting there in the dark? I’m a little ashamed of admitting it, but I probably was not alone in that childish fear. As I matured, however, I mostly lost my fear of the dark, with the exception that I still do not like the little creepy crawly things that seem to like the darkness the most. But as an adult, having studied God’s word, I began to realize there may be some truth to those unsophisticated anxieties of my youth.
The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). The Pulpit commentary correctly observes here that God is not merely “a light” or even just “the light” but He is Light, it is His nature. “This sums up the Divine essence on its intellectual side, as “God is love” on its moral side” (Pulpit Commentary). In other words, it might be expressed, that God is Perfect in all His attributes, perfect in every way, and infinitely so. There is no error, no wrong, no mistake, no flaw, no imperfection, no darkness at all in Him or about Him. That, among other things about His nature, makes Him God. His is the light that no man can approach unto (I Tim. 6:16).
James says, there is no variableness with God, nor shadow caused by turning (James 1:17). God is not ambiguous. He does not alter Who He is or What He is. “He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself” (II Tim. 2:13). Everything associated with God is light and goodness and holiness and purity. When the Lord God went before the children of Israel by a pillar of fire, He gave them light (Ex. 13:21). Even so, if we follow the Lord, He will give us light that guides our path. As the Psalmest said, “In Thy light, we shall see light” (Psalm 36:9). Again, as David says, “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness” (II Samuel 22:29).
The world, however, doesn’t like the light because the world loves evil (John 3:19) and the light reproves the evil, just as it dispels darkness (John 3:20). Oh, how the roaches scatter when the light comes! When the light of truth is shined on the darkness of sin and error, those who walk in darkness will be the ones to oppose it the loudest. They will not allow their error or sin to be exposed by the light, they will not allow their actions or beliefs to be seen for what they are, whether good or bad, but they will cloak their unrighteousness in the blackness of subterfuge and in the obscurity of nuanced words. They even resort to attacking the light-bearer, because they can by no means allow the light to expose them for what they really are. And while satan may transform himself into an angel of light, he cannot hide what he really is nor alter his eternal destiny because of it (John 8:44; Matt. 25:41).
Even as the Light of God is manifested by the material creation (Psalm 97), Jesus brought the Light of God more clearly into focus for us. Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). He further 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 8:12). John said of Jesus “In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Unless the teaching of Jesus instructs and informs our world view, we live in a most horrific, impenetrable darkness. No one can truly understand the truth, unless they understand Jesus for He is the way the truth and life (John 14:6). He Who dwells in the Light which no man can approach unto, is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person (Heb. 1:3). He is the “Sun of Righteousness” (Mal. 4:2) and the “light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32). “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).
James also says God is the Father of lights (James 1:17). He created the physical lights in the world (Gen. 1:3) but, even more importantly, we, as His children, are also to be lights in the world. Paul wrote, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). Therefore, we must let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in Heaven (Matt. 5:16). Paul reiterates, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 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. 2:14,15). Paul describes us “the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (I Thess. 5:5).
As Christians, we manifest the light by our lives and by the teaching of the Word of God. His word is light. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” saith the Psalmest (Psalm 119:105). We walk in that light and thereby have fellowship with Him (I John 1:7). “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Corinthians 4:6). “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” (II Corinthians 4:3-4).
Throughout all our lives we are bathed in the light of God. We live both in the light of the material creation and in the light of the new creation. And even when this material life comes to a close, and we receive our just but merciful reward, those of us who have walked in the light of His word will be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). In heaven, there will “be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light” (Rev. 22:5). The New Jerusalem will have no “need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it” (Rev. 21:23). “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:25).
I do fear the darkness of sin and ignorance and hell. But how beautiful is the Light!
Eric L. Padgett