Light and Darkness

by Kenneth E. Thomas

November 26, 2000

     I awoke in the middle of the night recently, after having dreamed at length about this subject. I was doing a radio broadcast (that is, in my dream) dealing with the importance of "light" as it involves truth and right. When I awoke, I jotted down the word "light" on a piece of paper to remind me to develop this idea further when I reached the office. So "away we go" as Jackie Gleason used to say.

     Everyone knows the importance of light in the physical realm of life. Most remember reading of the time when God said, "Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). The divine record says, "And God saw that light, that it was good: And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day" (Genesis 1:4-5).

     Mankind is just beginning to learn just how important light really is. We are now transmitting messages via light waves. We are doing wonderful things with the laser using concentrated light beams to do surgery on such delicate organs as the human eye among other things. Distances in outer space are measured in "light years" dealing with the understanding that light travels about 186,000 miles per second if I remember correctly. NASA uses light in many wonderful ways as they explore the heavens. I know very little about what is being done scientifically using that wonderful thing called "light," but that isn't what I am most concerned with, as interesting as that may be. What concerns me is how the word "light" is used in the holy scriptures to depict right, good, truth, understanding, revelation, salvation, etc.

The Contrast Between Light and Darkness

     Of course the opposite to light is dark. Darkness is used in Scriptures to depict evil, bad, calamity, sin, wrong, error, lies, etc. Man was created upright and consequently walked in fellowship with God until Satan brought sin into the world by appealing to mother Eve. Satan convinced Eve by his deceptive abilities that God had unduly restricted she and her husband by not allowing them to partake of the tree in the midst of the garden, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." She partook and gave to her husband with her and he also ate. Now they realized they were naked and attempted to hide from their creator. Sin caused them to feel ashamed of themselves. Sin never brings any lasting peace of mind pleasure or happiness, just the opposite (Genesis 3:1-19; 1 Timothy 2:11-14). Eve saw that the fruit was 1. Good for food. 2. Pleasing to the eyes. 3. To be desired to make one wise. You might say that Satan told a "half truth," they did become "wise" in that they realized their sinful condition before God. However, rather than being benefitted by their sin, they suffered many unfavorable consequences. Read again (Genesis 3:13-19).

     All men are destined to die physically due to Adam and Eve's sin in Eden (Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:12). Contrary to the teaching of many, we do not bear the guilt of the sin of Adam and Eve. We do indeed bear some unfortunate consequences. Adam and Eve died the day they ate just as God had said they would spiritually speak (Genesis 3:17; Ezekiel 18:20). The rest of the Bible is a story of God's plan to save man from the guilt of his own sins brought about by the exercise of his free will. When folks learn how Adam and Eve became sinners before God they will likewise understand how we become sinners in need of redemption today. Look at the word "redemption," it suggests bringing us back to where we once were before the age of accountability (James 1:13-15; Matthew 18:3; 19:14; 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:9-10).

     In Genesis 3:15 we read the first promise of the virgin born "seed of woman" who would one day bruise the serpent's head, which probably speaks of Christ's resurrection from the dead, taking away the power of death from Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15; Romans 1:3-4).

     The Messiah was promised who would be the light of the world to light the pathway back to God that had been darkened by sin (John 1:1-17). Eve thought she would actually benefit by disobeying God! Men are still appealed to by Satan to commit similar sins (1 John 2:15-17). Don't be deceived by Satan! Heartache and darkness always result when we sin and cease to "walk in the light" of the divine will of God (1 John 1:6-7).

     Just as in the physical realm of life, light dispels darkness, likewise in the spiritual realm, truth dispels error; good dispels bad, right dispels wrong. Prior to conversion one is said to have been in darkness. Paul wrote to Christians, "You once were darkness, now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).

     Those who have been Christians for very long, can probably remember the old sermons you've heard about the three ages of God's dealings with mankind, sometimes spoken of as the "Starlight," the "Moonlight," and the "Sunlight" ages. Today, we usually call those three ages the "Patriarchal," "Mosaic," and "Gospel" ages. This we do in an attempt to express the fact that with the coming of each new age of God's dealings with man, more information or "light" was revealed as to His ultimate mission, that of preparing mankind for the coming Messiah and His kingdom. Then finally revealing "all spiritual truth," with the New Testament's completion, being confirmed with signs and wonders following (Mark 16:15-10; Hebrews 2:1-3; John 16:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; James 1:25). But we are getting a little bit ahead of our story. More on these matters later.

     The word, "light" in the New King James Version of the New Testament, appears in seventy-seven passages. I take it that this is an extremely important subject. Actually, if there were only one passage of holy writ using the word, it would still be sufficiently important to consider. Let me call to your attention Matthew's account of the gospel, a quotation from (Isaiah 9:1,2). Speaking of Jesus' activities after the death of John, Matthew records, "Leaving Nazareth, He went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali - to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Matthew 4:13-16). I take this to be a prophecy indicating that Jesus would, "taste of death for every man" as we learn in other passages such as (Hebrews 2:9; John 3:16), ultimately making the gospel available not only to the Jews to whom He first came (John 1:11-12), but a universal covenant to embrace the whole world, hence, the "worldwide commission" as given to His apostles after His Death, burial, resurrection, (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-49). They were told to preach this gospel to "every creature" (Mark. 16:15; Acts 10:34-35). Later Paul said they did just that in (Colossians 1:23b).

     Bible students will recall also that Jesus said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this (Jewish ket) fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). Later in this chapter Jesus identified those who are His sheep, by saying, "My sheep hear My voice.." (John 10:27). God often spoke of things that were not (as yet), as if they were, because He knows the end view of all things. Regarding God's promises to Abraham, Romans 4:17-18 reads thus: "(as it is written, I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall thy descendants be."

     When God makes a promise, that settles the matter. God who "cannot lie" (Titus 1:2), not only promised to bruise the head of the serpent, He promised to raise up a virgin born seed to accomplish this task. When God called Abram and made a promise to him that this would be fulfilled through his seed (Genesis 12:1-4), that settled it; The promise would not fail. God could swear by no greater so He swore by Himself that he would eventually bring this about. "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:13-15). From our vantage point today, as a Christian, having become the recipients of those great blessing in our dispensation, we simply turn and read the fulfillment in the New Testament as above cited and as Paul argued in the Galatian letter when he said, "Now to Abraham and to his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your seed," who is Christ" (Galatians 3:16).

     Christ is indeed the promised seed and "the light of the world." John records Him as saying "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness" (John 8:12). Jesus spoke of the fact that even though He had come as the light, still some men loved darkness more than light and consequently would shun the light lest their deeds which were evil should be exposed (John 3:19-20). John the immerser, being the harbinger to prepare the Jewish nation for their Messiah, spoke in plain language, indicating that Jesus was indeed the one who would light their way back to God from whom they had departed so often. I would like to call your attention to the beginning of the gospel according to John:

     "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness to bear witness of that Light, that all through him might believe. He (John ket) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which comes into the world. He (Christ ket) was in the world, and the world was made through Him,. and the world did not know Him. He came to His own (the Jews ket), and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe on His name" (John 1:1-12).

     Why would the Jewish nation, for the greater part, reject their own Messiah after God had been preparing them for His coming and for His kingdom for so many hundreds of years? Well, many answers could be given. One was because they expected a Messiah to liberate them from Roman rule and to set up an earthly kingdom in which they would participate, being over other nations around them. You see, as the great and mighty nation of Israel, God had fought their battles and made them victorious over any nation who sought to destroy them in the past. Why would He not do so again when Messiah came? If they would only have understood their own history and their own prophets, they would not have made such a huge mistake for after their second restoration it was prophesied that as a result of their unfaithfulness they would be destroyed as a nation never again to be rebuilt (Deuteronomy 28:1-68).

     The prophet Jeremiah demonstrated what would happen to the nation of Israel because of their sins in Jeremiah 19:1-12. They would be destroyed as a nation never to be put together again. Interestingly, when Titus the Roman emperor destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, they were starved until women ate their own children attempting to survive and then they were burned and all of the nation's records were destroyed. This is why even if every Jew should return to Palestine, they can never again be the nation as before, they have no genealogies to determine who is from which tribe etc.

     This is what the LORD says:

1. "Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people and of the priests
2. and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,
3. and say, `Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
4. For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.
5. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal--something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.
6. So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
7. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
8. I will devastate this city and make it an object of scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds.
9. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh during the stress of the siege imposed on them by the enemies who seek their lives.
10. "Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching,
11. and say to them, `This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room.
12. This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the LORD. I will make this city like Topheth."

     Even after all of these things came to pass, the Jews then, and many now, are expecting the Messiah yet to come and to rebuild the nation of Israel and reign on David's literal throne in Jerusalem Palestine. It will never happen of course. As Jesus was before Pilate He said, "My kingdom is not of this world.." (John 18:36). He had promised that this prophesied "spiritual kingdom" would indeed be established with power in the lifetime of some of His disciples (Mark 9:1).

     Not yet understanding this, after Jesus was crucified some of His disciples thought that all was lost! Their hopes had been dashed to bits because this man who claimed to be the Son of God and their own Messiah had failed to set up his kingdom. Listen to two of his disciples' conversation on the road to Emmaus: "...And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as ye walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You a stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, "and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened" (Luke 24:13-21).

     This idea of Israel's restoration was so ingrained in the minds of the Jews in the first century (who misunderstood their own prophets) that even Christ's own chosen Apostles just before His ascension back to heaven, asked Jesus "...Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Their question would have to await the advent of the Holy Spirit for an answer and Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit would make that answer known on the beginning date of Christ's church/kingdom in (Acts 2:22-38,40,41,47). Even to this day, most Protestants are still waiting and hoping for the establishment of an earthly kingdom with Christ reigning from Jerusalem Palestine for a literal 1000 years on David's literal throne. The doctrine is known as Premillennialism, and there's not a word of truth in it! The whole system is flawed from beginning to end!

     Jesus Christ did what he came to do in fulfillment of God's predetermined plan; His mission was to "seek and to save the lost" by the sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the whole world (Luke 19:10). Jesus came through the door of prophecy. The porter or doorkeeper (John the immerser) opened this door of prophecy and Christ came as their fulfillment (John 1:1-18). John said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)! Jesus' death was no accident nor was the founding of His church purchased with His shed blood an after thought. No, it was God's eternal plan (Ephesians 3:8-11). The church, which term is used interchangeably with His kingdom (Hebrews 12:22-28; Matthew 16:18-19; Colossians 1:13-14) was in God's mind from eternity. This would make it possible for both Jew and Gentile to be reconciled unto God through Christ's death in the one body, the church, thus making peace between Jew and Gentile and between God and man (Ephesians 2:10-17).

     Many are the precious souls who are yet in darkness as regards this system of redemption that is centered in Christ and in His blood bought church by the gospel, even as I write and even as you consider what I have written! Life and immorality said Paul, are brought to light by the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). This gospel is the "good news" of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. It is "God's power to save" (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). But those who are lost have had their eyes blinded by the God of this world, again quoting Paul the Apostle, "lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

     As Christ's chosen apostles began to carry out the worldwide commission to which we alluded earlier and promised to revisit later in this study, fierce opposition to the story of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and coronation of Jesus Christ immediately began. In fact, everyone but the apostles themselves, who had accepted and obeyed what Peter and the rest of the apostles commanded them to do on the birthday of Christ's church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:22-47), were run out of town in fear of their very lives! This persecution was headed up by one who later became the thirteenth apostle, sent by Christ as a special envoy to the Gentile world. This man who caused many Christians to be beaten, killed, and imprisoned, was later himself treated likewise and willingly accepted whatever he must to be a faithful proclaimer of the fact that this Jesus whom the Jews had crucified, who had also been resurrected, is indeed the very Christ, the Messiah for whom the nation had been waiting (Acts 7:56-8:4; Acts 26:9-11: Philippians 3:7-14).

     After Saul's conversion which is recorded in Acts chapters 9, 22, 26, as he defended himself before king Argippa, Saul told of his conversion to Christ and of what Christ Himself said to Him there on the Damascus road. Speaking from heaven in the midst of a light brighter than the noon day sun which blinded Saul, he fell to the earth and heard Jesus say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads. "So I said, 'who are you Lord? And He said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. ' I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 'to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:14-18).

     One should read all three chapters concerning Saul's conversion to Christ. When Saul asked Jesus "Lord, what would you have me to do?" He was told to "arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." He was led by the hand on into Damascus and Annanias the preacher came to him with the following words for this believing, penitent who had confessed faith in Jesus as the Christ, "and now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:6-16). Reading of Saul's conversion in Acts chapter nine one will learn that in the very city where he had intended to bind and persecute Christians, he taught in the Synagogues, that Jesus is the Son of God. They were amazed at this and asked if this was not the same person who had "...destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priest?" The record then says, "But Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 9:20-22). How does one account for such a turn about in this man we first knew as a relentless persecutor of the church of Christ? When he was convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed who he claimed to be, the divine son of the living God, Saul did what Jesus said in the "great commission" they must (Luke 24:45-47; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16), he was "baptized into Christ" as he later relates to the brethren in (Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-29).Today when one is convinced that Jesus is indeed "The Christ" such an one will accept Him as the Lord of their lives and there will be no quibbling over doing exactly what Saul and others did to be converted to Christ. It is unbelievers who quibble over whether or not baptism is essential to get into Christ. Baptism is the final act of the "new birth" of the water and of the Spirit of which Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in (John 3:3-5), without which one cannot see nor enter Christ's kingdom. There are prerequisites to baptism of course, those being one must have heard the gospel, believe the gospel, repent of all sin and error, and then upon confession of one's faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, one is to be immersed into His death and raised to walk in newness of life. Paul calls this "the washing of regeneration" by which God saves us in (Titus 3:5).

     As Paul went about preaching Jesus and the resurrection, even though a special apostle to the Gentiles, when he went into any city where a Jewish synagogue had been erected, he would get an audience with them and preach Christ. On one occasion I have in mind as Paul was on his way to Rome having appealed to his right as a Roman citizen, to appear before Caesar, he took the opportunity to preach to some of his Jewish countrymen, making an interesting remark. He stood to be judged for preaching Christ, he said before king Agrippa, "And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews" (Acts 26:6-7). What was indeed the "hope of Israel," was not what they hoped for. They hoped for an earthly king and kingdom, "their hope" lay only in accepting and obeying the resurrected Christ. This Paul went on to teach the king, saying, "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raised the dead?"

     This doctrine met with fierce opposition to fleshly minded folks then as did the idea that Christ's kingdom wasn't earthly but a spiritual reign in the hearts of men and women who yielded to His authority over their lives and were born again into said kingdom (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21). Unfortunately, these truths, this light found in the word of Christ, still meet with fierce opposition today as we attempt to teach Protestants, Jews, and Roman Catholics about Christ and His kingdom.

     The glorious light of the gospel of Christ teaches that when one believes and obeys the gospel of Christ, that person becomes simply and only a Christian and as such, a member of the one body of which Paul wrote in (Ephesians 4:1-6). Cases of conversion which brought membership in this one body, the church of Christ, are simply examples of how the "great commission" given by Christ to His apostles was carried out and what it entailed. When folks "obeyed the gospel" (Acts 2:22-38, 41, 1 Peter 1:22-25), they were given the new name that old testament prophecies had spoken of being given "within God's house..." (Isaiah 56:6; 62:2). This "new name" was the proper noun "Christian" (Acts 11:26b; 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). The wearing of other names of men or methods is divisive and contrary to the will and wishes of our Savior who admonishes those who would follow Him to unite upon the word of His apostles (John 17:17-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10-12).

     At this point let me give you the passages where conversions took place and you will see how each, although not specifically stated, Heard, Believed, Repented, Confessed Jesus and were immersed to have their sins remitted. See for yourself:

1. Jews on Pentecost (Acts 2:22-38,40-41,47).
2. Jews (Acts 3:12-19).
3. The Samaritans (Acts 8:12-13).
4. The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-39).
5. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9-22-26; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-29).
6. Lydia & household (Acts 16:13-15).
7. The Philippian Jailor (Acts 16:25-33).

     It was to such as had (as indicated in the examples above) believed, Repented, Confessed faith in Jesus as the Christ and were then baptized into Christ and been raised to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:11; 3:1-7), that Paul admonished, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). Too much space would be required to show the many passages which say things similar about the "before and after" conversion lifestyles Christians are expected to adopt. It is just about imperative that the careful student read the many scripture citations in this or any other such treatise, for if we took the time to write them all out, we would have a book of considerable size and this isn't intended to become such. Christians have been converted. When something is converted, it is changed from what it was before. We convert rags and wood to paper. Where I was raised they often converted corn to whiskey among other things. So we understand the meaning of the word "converted."

     If we are converted to Christ, our lives will be transformed. Not only will all past sins and errors have been washed away in the blood of Jesus, but with a renewed mind, we will be determined to order our lives in keeping with the will of our Lord and Master who purchased each of us who are Christians with His own blood (Romans 12:1-2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). While conversion doesn't require or demand a walk in perfection, it is indicated by exhibiting the "fruits of the Spirit" as we follow our perfect example, Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:22-25). Peter points this out in the following language: "...For we have spent enough of our lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles (nations ket)--when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these things, they (your former associates ket) think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead" (1 Peter 4:3-5).

     When we submit to the will of Christ and no longer participate in error or immorality, etc., our righteous life chaffs on these former associates of ours. In fact the life of righteous Noah is said to have "condemned the world of the ungodly" around him. Actually, it wasn't anything that Noah did that condemned the ungodly world, it was their own unrighteousness and sinful lifestyles, when compared to that of righteous Noah of whom it was said, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. ...Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:8-9).When the Hebrew writer gave the list of what many have called "the hall of fame of the heros of faith," found in the eleventh chapter of that book, righteous obedient Noah is found among them. The record takes us back to the days before the great flood and tells us how Noah conducted himself before God: "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house-hold, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11:7). The apostle Peter also makes reference to Noah and compares our salvation today when we as penitent believers obey Christ in baptism for the remission of sins which saves us, to the physical salvation of Noah and his family in the ark long ago. He wrote: "...when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls (people ket) were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:20-21).

     Earlier in his epistle the apostle Peter wrote to Christians: " are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles (nations ket), that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation" (1 Peter 2:9-12).

     Such admonitions are only further instruction to do as Christ taught during His earthly sojourn when He reminded His disciples that: "You are the light of the world...and should ...let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16). The Master said that His disciples are to have a savoring effect on the world in which we live. We should create a thirst for righteousness in others by our lifestyles and should illuminate the way to Christ.

Some Ways We May Be Light & Salt In The World

1. By truly showing biblical love for one another as Christians: "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now" (1 John 2:9).
2. By being a good father or mother: (1 Timothy 1:5)
3. By being a good son or daughter: (Ephesians 6:1-2)
4. By being a good neighbor: (Luke 10:29-37)
5. By being a good employer: (James 5:1-4)
6. By being a good employee: (2 Thessalonians 3:6-14)
7. By living a godly moral lifestyle: (Galatians 5:16-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
8. By being a good citizen: (Romans 13:1-8)
9. By being a good member of the local church of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-16).
10. By being a good aunt, uncle, cousin: Someone is watching you. (1 Tim. 4:12b).

     There are many more areas of work, worship, organization and service where we must continue to "walk in the light" to keep our proper relationship with the Godhead and with others of "like precious faith." I shall save those other areas for yet another lesson. Let me bring this to a close by injecting what the apostle John wrote about our subject:

     "...that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, (God and I ket) and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:3-9).

     As anyone can plainly learn from the above passages, fellowship with God, Christ, the Apostles and all others who are in fellowship is predicated on one's willingness to walk in the light. Howbeit, even then ours is an imperfect walk as can be seen for there are still some sins needing to be cleansed by the blood of Christ as we repent, confess and pray as may be learned from the above and from additional passages (Acts 8:22-24; James 5:16, etc.).

     The question each of us needs to ask and answer in total honesty, is, "Am I really walking in the light?" We may know we know Him and that we have eternal life (in promise-prospect-and in hope ket), if we believe on Him and if we are keeping His commandments" (1 John 5:11-15). "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him" (1 John 3:24). "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that had overcome the world-our faith" (1 John 5:3-4).

     The Hebrew writer sums it up for us, showing that walking by faith is to be obedient unto the end and not to draw back. " Beware, Brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. For who, having heard rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with them who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter into His rest. but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief"(Hebrews 3:12-19). Disobedience here as well as elsewhere in scripture is parallel with unbelief. This is why the bible teaches over and over that we are saved by faith (Romans 5:1-2; 8:24). This faith by which we are saved is always an obedient faith, a working faith (Hebrews 11; James 1:18-25; James 2:14-26; Hebrews 5:9; Matthew 7:13-29). Are you a true believer? Only if you are "walking in the light."

Kenneth E. Thomas

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