Category Archives: Light and darkness

How Beautiful Is The Light

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

Beacons of Light

It is alarming, indeed, to read the stories that come out almost daily chronicling the depravity, the cruelty, the indifference and the ignorance of this generation. There are things happening now which many of us could never have imagined. Our very way of life is threatened and seems even now to be precariously hanging in the balance. What does the future have in store for us if this trend continues? What can be done to turn this situation around?

Edmund Burke once said, “Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.” This is so obviously true. The Bible makes clear the fate of a society that no longer remembers and accepts God’s rule: it will devolve into chaos, and complete destruction is its destiny (Jud. 2:10; 17:6). We must remain confident, however, that while the wicked may prosper temporarily (Jer. 12:1), God’s just judgement will surely come, if not here and now, then ultimately and finally beyond the veil (Acts 17:30,31). But what of the here and now? What can be done, if anything at all, to change the direction into which we are now heading?

First, we must recognize that everyone is an individual and will stand before the judgement seat of Christ to be judged in that capacity (II Cor. 5:10). None of us can force anyone else to be good. Parents, more than anyone, have influence over someone else, i.e., their children (Prov. 22:6), but too often this influence is squandered. Even under the best parental guidance, however, every child is going to stand on his own at the judgement (Ez. 18:20). The only power we really have is a little persuasion (Acts 26:28) and a little influence (Matt. 5:13-16) and, in this country, a little political power of voting.

Second, since all we have is persuasion and influence, we have to do more persuading and more influencing others for the cause of Christ. We should never be afraid of, nor tire of, or be ashamed of, speaking the truth of God, regardless of what others may say. We must never grow weary of doing well. Rather than retreat from the world–which often is a tempting choice for those of us who like to live quiet and peaceable lives–we must engage it! This does not mean that we should conform to it (Rom. 12:1,2), but we must shine as lights in a crooked and perverse world (Phil. 2:15). While it will be a hard balance, Christians need to become teachers, civic leaders, business leaders, etc., all the while manifesting an unreproachable Christian character. We also must speak the necessary truths at every opportunity.

Finally, we, ourselves, must live above reproach. Known hypocrites are not generally most influential people. Paul wrote to the young man Timothy that he was to be, and to exhort other young men to be, “sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Tit. 2:6-8). We are to be examples in word, in conversation, charity, spirit, faith and purity (I Tim. 4:12). Only when we ourselves lead such exemplar lives, can we hope to influence others for good.

Make no mistake, evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). But we can be, and the Lord expects us to be, beacons of light shining forth the word of truth (Matt. 5:13-16). We must put on the armor of light if we expect to cast off the works of darkness (Rom. 13:12). The Lord is coming back to judge this world. Let us do as much as we can to see that souls hear the Truth before that time and maybe, just maybe, we can turn this society around a little, at least, in the process.

Eric L. Padgett

Darkness Which May Be Felt

Have you ever been to Mammoth Cave? Have you been to the large “room” when they turn off the lights? The darkness is so thick you cannot see your own hand in front of your face, you can’t see the person sitting next to you and you cannot even see a pinpoint of light anywhere. It really does give you a feeling of total helplessness because you would be completely lost without some source of light. It is not that your eyes stop working, it’s just that there is no light to reflect off of any object there for your eyes to receive.

The world must have been something like that before God created this world’s light (Gen. 1:3). At that time, before God spoke those powerful words, “Let there be light,” the world was without form and it was void and complete darkness engulfed the created cosmos (Gen. 1:2). But God could not leave the world that way because He is light and in Him is no darkness at all (I John 1:5). Thus, He brought light into the world, even before there were stars (Gen. 1:14-19).

Egypt knew this kind of darkness. God had smitten Egypt with plague after plague because Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord, not letting the children of Israel go worship Jehovah. Just before the final plague and the blackest night in Egyptian history–the death of the Egyptian first born–God sent a darkness upon the land that was palpable, it was a darkness over the land of Egypt that could even be felt (Ex. 10:21). It was so dark that they could not even see one another (much like the Mammoth Cave experience) and so they did not dare move from their place for three days (Ex. 10:23). This was a removal of God’s light from their presence. But the children of Israel had light in all their dwellings (Ex. 10:23).

When men live their lives in sin, they are in a darkness which may be felt. If the eye of a man is evil, the whole body is full of darkness, and how great is that darkness (Matt. 6:23)! Those that walk in darkness have no direction in life for they cannot know where they are going (John 12:35). The way of the wicked is darkness (Prov. 4:19). The works of darkness are unfruitful (Eph. 5:11) and lead to a rejection of the God of Light (Rom. 1:21) and alienation from Him (Eph. 4:18). Unfortunately, we often love darkness rather than light (John 3:19).

But, the “people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2). While the world lay in darkness, the darkness and blackness of sin, God once again said “Let there be Light,” and there was, indeed, true Light. 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 8:12). He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, a kingdom of marvelous light (Col. 1:13; I Pet. 2:9). “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 Cor. 4:6).

So let your eyes be opened, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God, that you may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ (Acts 26:18). Walk as children of Light (Eph. 5:8)! Put on the armor of Light (Rom. 13:12)! Have no communion with darkness (II Cor. 6:14). Walk in the Light even as He is in the Light (I John 1:7)!

If we do not, then shall the king say to His servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13). “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).

Eric L. Padgett