Walking in the Light (1)
Many years ago, an inspired Jew wrote: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105). He viewed the word God revealed as the illumination needed to travel through life. He felt surrounded by darkness. That darkness still engulfs the world. John wrote, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). Divine revelation is the only thing making it possible to travel safely through the darkness of this world. Bildad, the Shuhite, was surely correct when he said, “The light of the wicked indeed goes out, and the flame of his fire does not shine” (Job 18:5). Strangely, most of us do not know whether we are walking in light or darkness -- and care even less. Are you walking in light or darkness, dear friend?
Life has many traps, many pitfalls. Danger lurks everywhere. Darkness covers the world through ignorance and sin. “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ” (Eph. 4:17-20).
No mere man, unaided by God, can guide himself through the maze of ignorance and wickedness. Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). Those who never learned the truth from Christ Jesus continue unsuccessfully stumbling through life blinded by the devil. Paul wrote, “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” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). They grasp for nearly anything that might offer some security, but, what appears to be secure in the world is never reliable.
God provides light to the world. He expects every accountable being to find it and walk in it. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Darkness pictures sin, ignorance, wickedness and disobedience. Light represents truth, understanding, enlightenment, purity and holiness.
God, through Jesus Christ, is the only light the world has. the very “light of the world” (John 1:9; 8:12). Christians are “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). As lights they reflect Christ to the world through spreading his word (Phil. 2:15).
Walking in the light is living under God’s orders, his infallible standard of right. Men set up their own standards for living, but God’s word is the only standard that counts. A sensible person will examine self to determine whether he is right or wrong with God Almighty. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5). When one no longer enjoys being a child of God, has trouble getting along with other Christians, and loses interest in standing for the truth of God’s will, he is headed for the dark side of life.
John’s letter was written, in part, to refute a very dangerous heresy. Guided by the Holy Spirit John responded. False teachers, called either Docetic or Cerinthian Gnostics, held a corrupt doctrine of the nature of Jesus while on earth. Jesus was God incarnate. Incarnate means God was in the fleshly body of Jesus. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me” (Heb. 10:5).
The Docetic Gnostic denied that anything divine could be physical. They claimed the physical form of Jesus was not real. The term dokeo is from the Greek word that means “appear.” Thus they were known as Docetic Gnostics. The other heretics took their name from their leader, Cerinthius, who taught that Jesus was the natural son of both Joseph and Mary. He , like modernists of our day, denied the virgin birth of Christ. He argued that Jesus became “the Christ” when baptized by John in the Jordan river.
John effectively refuted both of these heretical positions. In the first four verses, he affirmed: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life - the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us - that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4).
John shows facts about Jesus in denial of gnostic errors. First he shows Jesus has eternal being -- “that which was from the beginning.” Next, he proves Jesus was real, in the flesh -- “that which we have seen, looked upon, and touched.” Third, he attributes to Christ eternal life “with the Father” the life that was manifested to us. Fourth, he declares this is the basis of fellowship among all who walk in the light as a way of life. He says, “that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (vs. 4).
Verse 5 tells us that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” God is the only standard by which his children are to pattern their lives. This also refutes the doctrine that claims humans are competent to set up their own standards for life without any divine aid. Men cry for freedom from any kind of restraint. They want nothing that calls on them to walk by a standardized, limited rule. This is man’s fatal blunder. Everything about man’s relationship to God is enclosed by divinely set limits and boundaries. We either accept them and walk with God directed by revealed truth, or reject them and walk in darkness holding hands with the devil all the way to hell. The choice is ours. We are not promised freedom to set up our own way of living.
God is light. We walk in light. Walking is a progressive sequence of steps, but God does not walk in light -- He is light. God makes no progress; He never changes (Mal. 3:6); He is from everlasting to everlasting A Psalm, attributed to Moses begins,
“Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting,
You are God” (Psa. 90:2).
The unchangeable nature of the Almighty is such that his light dispels darkness to the one who comes to Him through faith. The closer we walk in a godlike way, the more light we see. Driving down a dark lane at night the headlights of the car reach only so far in front, but the further one goes, the more the light reveals. As we walk in the light of God’s truth, we continue to learn more. As we learn more, our practice of what is right gradually is perfected and we mature and become stronger in the faith.
Walking in the light is a beautiful way of life. It is available to everyone accountable being. Only those whose lives are so sodden in sin that they have no desire to do what is right will reject it. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen that they have been done in God” (John 3:10-21). There are two classes of people: those who practice evil and those who do the truth. Dear friend, have enough concern for yourself to want to do the truth. Study the Bible, the one and only divinely revealed source of light. This is the only way to determine whether you are in the light or in darkness.
The light of demands sinners submit to Jesus Christ through faith. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). The light demands repentance. “ unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Light demands one obey the sacred command to be baptized into the sacred name of the Holy Three, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in order to be saved. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Baptism, to the penitent believer is the portal to light. If you haven’t yet done so, why not make this the day you come to the light of Christ’s way? In the words of the ancient prophet:
“Come ye and let us walk in the light of Jehovah” (Isa. 2:5).
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