Darkness and Light
By Benjamin H. Liles
Recently I heard something interesting. The phrase was "Darkness is the absence of light." If that's the case then: hate is the absence of love, lying is the absence of truth, and idolizing is the absence of worship of the One True God. I'm not saying this to offend anyone, but to expose darkness for what it is. I'm certainly not without sin or defect. Rather, it is by the grace and mercy of God who forgives me of the wrong I do in the blood of Jesus. My faith in Him replaces the darkness for His light. Paul wrote, "Do not become unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14, Berean Literal Bible).
I don't think Paul is saying we're to separate ourselves from others who don't believe in Christ Jesus. If that was the case how did Paul minister to those who struggled in their sin, exposing the darkness from the light and winning souls for Jesus? No, Paul is rather exposing those who make the claim they follow after Jesus, but don't show the fruit that they belong to Him. As Christians we're called to love and honor God through Jesus. It means speaking the truth in love. It means loving other people where they are at. It's not my place to point out someone else's flaws when I'm still flawed myself. Scripture, which is God's word, judges the heart of man. Surely someone will think and then say, "But men wrote the Bible. Are you saying they were judging others?" God spoke and still speaks from men He can use.
What this means is that those who wrote the Old Testament were doing their best to awaken people out from darkness even then. God doesn't design any of us to live in darkness. He doesn't create us to be in peril. He isn't a far off God who never helps us. To claim there is no God is a form of idol worship. This alone breaks God's command to worhsip only Him. This breaks God's heart when we go against Him. But we're not only judged by Him in our own selves. God punishes the wicked. He says, in His word, "Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless" (Isaiah 13:11, NASB). God points out that "The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him" (Ezekiel 18:20, World English).
Allow me to say it this way: I came to faith in the power and person of Jesus by realizing I was that Prodigal Son. It was like I woke up in the pig pen, seeing myself stuck in all that filth. I saw that I was the one responsible for not listening to God. I was the one in darkness. For God, in His loving kindness and gracious mercy, to show me I'm in darkness, then He's showing me how much He is the light. Jesus is "life, and the life was the Light of men" (John 1:4, Holman Christian Standard). To deny Jesus, and therefore the Father, says all there is in enjoying the darkness over the light. Darkness doesn't comprehend or overpower the light (see John 1:5). This darkness emanates from an enemy who is unseen. This one does his absolute best to keep the blinders on those he believes belong to him. None of us have a rightful place in doing or enjoying in wicked deeds.
If any of us desire to do evil, then how would any of us know: right from wrong, to long after and speak the truth, or in giving kindness to someone in need of kindness? In your heart of hearts, do any of us want God's justice on us? In looking at these verses it seems that those who are truly wicked don't and won't turn away from doing evil. In other words, these people are so far removed from God that they "Exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever" (Romans 1:25, New King James). Worshipping and serving the creature is alike to remaining in darkness. This is what we serve before we come to a knowledge and saving grace of God in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent word back to John, his cousin, "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor" (Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 11:5).
If you no longer want to be blind ask Jesus to restore your sight. If you want to be able to walk again (a metaphor for being unable to get out of the filth and muck), let Jesus heal you and give you the ability to do so. We all feel unclean from time to time. Having a need to be cleaned by the word allows you to no longer be removed from the community. Lepers were avoided by those who claimed they loved God, but would not help them who had leprosy. If you no longer have a fondness for the inability to hear allow Jesus to unstop your ears. If you want a new life Jesus can put the word in you so that you have life and have it in abundance. If you believe you are poor, then allow Jesus to extend the good news He has overcome death and hell. We all can experience the light and the truth of God. "Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24, New King James), Paul pens.