Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
This is a statement of one of Jesus’ purposes in coming as the exact and perfect expression of the nature of the Father – to bring light into the world and to bring His true followers out of the darkness of this world. Those who remain in darkness are fighting against the will and purpose of God – no matter how many religious credentials they have and no matter how many “Christian” religious rites and traditions they participate in.
Darkness and religion (even in the name of Christ and God) go together as easily as darkness and philosophy or darkness and science. None of these are mutually exclusive of one another. Darkness is practiced anywhere light is avoided. Jesus is the light – but this light is not confined to the facts of “the gospel” (as it is often “preached”) nor is that light contained primarily within the buildings men most often call “churches.” The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of goodness, truth, life, beauty and light that touches us all at every one of the moments of decision we all face everyday. The tug within our hearts to do that which is right and good and true (though not sufficient in themselves to win us eternal salvation) is the wooing of the Spirit of God and Christ. Thus it still remains true that pure and undefiled religion in the eyes of God is to take care of the orphans and widows and the least of Christ’s brothers in their troubles and to keep oneself clean from the contaminations (darkness) of this world.
What are these contaminants of darkness?
- Deception ranks in the highest elements of this list. No lie is of the truth and every lie has its source in the spiritual beings opposed to Christ. Those who maintain their “good” social standing in their “church” by practicing some form of deception (gossip, slander, manipulation, etc.) are doing the work of the devil.
- Power mongering would rank high in this list of the contaminants of darkness. Jesus said that the authority of His kingdom functioned differently than that of the world – but every “church” functions in almost exactly the same authoritative, pyramid-style, trickle-down structure of the world’s corporations. Every “pastor,” “deacon” and “elder” (or whatever title given) who holds a position in such a worldly power structure that gives him authority and power over the lives of others is doing the work of the devil.
- Lawlessness takes a top slot in this collection. Lawlessness is best defined as doing what is right in one’s own eyes and is the diametric opposite of doing what is right in God’s eyes. Even though one may cast out demons, preach wonderful sermons, give great Bible teachings, build great “church” buildings, draw large numbers of followers to oneself, etc., if all that one accomplishes is what is right in his own opinions, that one will be excluded from the kingdom of God at the last day.
- Yet perhaps highest of all ranks simple non-involvement. This embraces a lazy, self-centered and/or self-focused failure to enter into the fight to be salt and light in a corrupt world and to defend the rights and dignities the Spirit of liberty gives to all created men – but that is not suggesting that we must all be involved in a political party (which might be a worse evil!) as that too is often just another form of doing what is right in one’s own eyes - voting for the party candidate is often voting for the lesser of two evils instead of standing up for what is right, good and true. Non-involvement also embraces the sinful aloofness, cynicism and complaining about the ills in our society without actually seeing how the Lord would use us to make even a small difference in even one person’s life. Non-involvement also includes the simple neglect we practice on our neighbors as we (much like the priest and Levite in the story of the good Samaritan) drive right past their house on our way to “church” or to the many activities we’ve crowded into our own life and we remain completely ignorant and oblivious to their needs and struggles. Non-involvement is simply anytime we negligently abandon the least of Christ’s brothers to face their struggles and difficulties alone and it is a work of darkness.
The purpose of Christ remains – He came so that those who follow Him would not remain in darkness.
Let he who has ears hear.
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