‘LIGHT’ IN THE BIBLE (III)
Used figuratively, “light” is commonly employed to describe spiritual awakening, including the illumination that floods all the faculties of the soul: intellect, conscience, reason, and will. It is an appropriate representation of the enlightened state of those who have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter highlights the happy state of Christians who have been “called … out of darkness into his (God’s) marvellous light” (I Pet 2: 9). The word “marvellous” meaning “wonderful” reflects the uniqueness of the Gospel light – “as that excites wonder or surprise which we are not accustomed to see. … The contrast was as great as that between midnight and noonday. The change in conversion is often so great and so rapid, the views and feelings are so different before and after conversion, that it seems like a sudden transition from midnight to noon” (Albert Barnes).
When the Lord sheds the light of the glorious Gospel upon His elect, He delivers them from the darkness and blindness of their unregenerate state. Thus enlightened by the Holy Spirit, our eyes are opened to see our depraved estate, the follies of sin, the dangers of worldly pursuits, and our sinful lusts which used to plague our lives.
Thanks be to God that we now walk no more in darkness because we have the Light of life! One clear sign that we are walking in the light is our love for the brethren (I Jn 1: 7). In his epistle, the apostle John issued a sober warning against those who claimed to walk in the light but “hateth his brother”. Such are “in darkness, and walketh in darkness”. But when we love our brother, we abide “in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (I Jn 2: 9-11).
This contrast between light and darkness becomes more evident as we begin to live for the Lord. Before our conversion, we used to walk in darkness. But now that we are “light in the Lord”, we are to “walk as children of light” (Eph 5: 8). Let us therefore shine forth our light before man that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matt 5: 16).
As lights of the world, Christ’s disciples stand out as beacons in this dark and perverse world. Conspicuous because of their different convictions, principles and values, their conduct is often observed by many. Just as “a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matt 5: 14b), our daily lives and conversation “cannot be hid” any more than a city that is built upon a hill which can be seen by one and all. Non-believers watch closely the lives and conversations of Christians to see if they live up to their faith and profession. Any sinful action or compromise of our faith can stumble them. Let us therefore be mindful of our witness before the world. Walk circumspectly before God and men.
“A Christian must so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the Gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions” (C H Spurgeon).
Lights serve as warnings. We live “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation”. Our duty as Christians is to “shine as lights in the world” by “holding forth the Word of life” (Phil 2: 15-16).
“An allusion, some think, to those towers which were built at the entrance of harbours, on which fires were kept during the night to direct ships into the port. Genuine Christians, by their holy lives and conversation, are the means of directing others, not only how to escape those dangers to which they are exposed on the tempestuous ocean of human life, but also of leading them into the haven of eternal safety and rest” (Adam Clark).
Song-writer Philip Bliss probably had this sacred duty in mind when he penned the meaningful hymn, “Let the lower lights be burning.” Do take time not just to read the lyrics (RHC 404) but think through the words as well. Where the Lord has placed us, let us be conscious of “some poor fainting, struggling” soul that “you may rescue, you may save” – by our faithful keeping of “the lights along the shore”.
Brethren, we have been called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be His shining lights in this dark and sinful world. Having found grace, let us not keep the Good News of the Gospel to ourselves. Neither should we be secret Christians. We must shine forth the light of our faith for all to see. Employ our gifts, time and energies for the blessing of others. Let us show forth the love and grace of Christ our Saviour that lost sinners may be drawn to know Him.