The Light of Life

Neil Girrard

Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Isa. 50:10-11 π Hab. 2:4 π Mt. 4:8 π Mt. 5:8 π Mt. 15:3 π Mt. 15:6 π Mt. 24:12 π Jn. 8:12; 2nd; 3rd π Acts 20:30 π Rom. 1:17 π Rom. 8:28 π Rom. 13:11-14 π 2 Cor. 6:14 π 2 Cor. 11:14-15 π 2 Ths. 2:7 π Heb. 1:3 π Rev. 11:15

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ( Jn. 8:12; top )

It has been rightly understood that Jesus Christ, the Man who is also God, is the focal point of all that the Creator chose to reveal of Himself. That is, Jesus, as the complete expression of the Infinite and Eternal God ( Heb. 1:3; top ) entered into time and space at a particular place and time and provided us with a focal point whereby, as does a telescope lens, we might bring into clear resolution and focus the infinite and eternal attributes of the God of life, love, truth, beauty and goodness (to name but a few of His attributes and characteristics.)

It has been well observed that we cannot codify or even rationally identify what exactly these things (life, love, truth, beauty, goodness) are but we see raw, new life springing forth in newborn babies and we see love expressed in manifold ways to deserving and non-deserving recipients alike. We recognize truth when we hear it or when we’re not hearing it (when we’re being conned or suckered) we recognize the presence of non-truth. We appreciate beauty in art and nature and we acknowledge goodness in the acts of noble men. But a pat, philosophical, nor even religious, nor concise, nor precise definition of each of these things eludes our finite minds – or else it propels us into rationalistic, relativistic lawlessness (i.e., “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” “truth is relative,” etc.)

Thus we need to see Jesus – and through Him we see the eternal Father and we can thus know God and enjoy in spirit and in truth all the aspects of the relationship He offers us. Jesus is indeed the light by which the world might see. ( Jn. 8:12; top )

Yet there is a further contrast in this statement that needs to be recognized. Jesus is not only saying that His followers must forsake darkness in all its forms, He is also clarifying something about the nature of His life and light. Consider the broad stroke confrontation that was occurring as the Eternal and Infinite God of Light and Life, encapsulated as it were in the Man Christ Jesus, entered realms and arenas where darkness had long held power and control. The darkness Jesus came to confront was not so much the darkness of ignorance and superstition but the deep-seated darkness that attends pure evil – hatred and death. And this darkness clings most tenaciously, it would seem to those who believe themselves to be right and good.

Long ago, God said through Isaiah, “Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God. Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled – this you shall have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment.” ( Isa. 50:10-11; top )

There are times when the genuine follower of Christ “walks in darkness and has no light” by which he can confidently say, “This is the will of God and this is the way in which I will go.” There may be a number of reasons for this darkness – it may be simple lack of instruction. It may be there are multiple options before him and none of them are intrinsically evil in themselves. Or it may be that God simply wants His son or daughter to make a choice (preferably a wise, mature one but, if not, at least a choice that can be used as a life-lesson later on.)

We are to walk by faith and not by sight. ( Rom. 1:17 , Hab. 2:4 ) If we have no light at a particular moment in time and must make a decision, we can be at peace and make the decision as best we are able at that time. God will not castigate us or condemn us even if we choose poorly (from His perspective.) Even this He will cause to work for our good ( Rom. 8:28; top ) as He will later reward us if we chose well or else He will later instruct us if we did choose poorly. Rarely (if ever) does our entire life, particularly our life with God, hinge on one particular decision or crossroads in life. God’s mercy and grace attend one who routinely seeks His will and His kingdom while His wrath is reserved for those who routinely seek their own will and their own kingdom or comforts, and especially for those who do so in His name! But this temporary darkness that calls forth spiritual maturity from the depths of our being is not the kind of darkness Christ came to dispel and disperse and destroy.

The darkness He came most to destroy is the man-made fires and sparks by which men can see with their own eyes at all times and thus they have no need for light, insight and revelation from God. In the Bible, this is called lawlessness – the doing of that which is right in one’s own eyes – and it is completely different from and even diametrically opposed to God’s true righteousness – that which is right in His eyes. ( 2 Cor. 6:14 ) It is this manmade light – which the unaided human eye cannot separate or distinguish from demonically originated “light” ( 2 Cor. 11:14-15 ) – that usurps the role and place of God’s light. Thus Jesus soundly rebuked the Pharisees, in effect saying to them, “You violate the commandment of God just to obey your tradition. Your manmade traditions cause the commands of God to have no effect in your hearts and lives!” ( Mt. 15:3 , 6; top )

Paul also spoke of “the hidden power of lawlessness already at work.” ( 2 Ths. 2:7 ) He had, on a different occasion, already prophesied of the bishops who would arise from the midst of the elders, speaking a corrupted form of the truth in order to draw followers after themselves. ( Acts 20:30; top ) This is precisely what occurred in church history as men began to choose which spiritual “leader” to follow and subtly relinquished their fast grip on the Head Christ Jesus. This is the hidden power of choosing what is right in one’s own eyes. Today this practice is called “denominationalism” and is the accepted norm in most circles of churchianity, that is, apostate “Christianity.”

Jesus said that lawlessness would abound at the close of the age and that the divine, agape love of most would grow cold as a result. ( Mt. 24:12; top ) There are very few circles and arenas today wherein lawlessness (also called relativism in philosophical circles) is not practiced and divine, self-sacrificing love is inhibited and squelched, nearly exterminated, as a result. Every skilled professional, every businessman, every government official, every employee is restricted by the rules and practices of the organization that pays him to only go “so far” in helping or caring for the individuals who come before him. These rules and practices are deemed “good” and “proper” (in someone eyes, especially those who rake in their lucrative careers from the perpetuation of the institution or organization) but they are in actuality designed to prevent the fullness of Christ and God’s love for fallen mankind from being poured forth.

The medical field, one which centers around care, concern and service to others, provides the clearest example of how the world transforms personal care into a de-personalized, bureaucratic system if for no other reason than that the care provider is often simply overwhelmed by the number of people who come through their doors. Christ was offered the kingdoms and systems of this world ( Mt. 4:8 ) – He turned them down, opting instead to wait until the time when these systems will be rightly and righteously transferred into His direct and transforming control. ( Rev. 11:15; top )

The inherent conflict between this world’s “professionalism” and the love of God is perhaps best seen in the practice of keeping oneself aloof from the people being “served.” “Don’t let yourself get personally involved with your clients, your patients, the applicants, the incarcerated man you’re ‘ministering’ to, the people you preach to, etc.” is the mantra of lawlessness, doing what is right in one’s own eyes at the expense of what is right and good in God’s eyes. This cold “professionalism” is that thing that squelches and inhibits real life.

Jesus said that the one who follows Him would “have the light of life.” ( Jn. 8:12; top ) Something inside the genuine follower of Christ recoils at the heart-numbing callousness and blindness of socialistic bureaucrats, professional elitists and materialistic snobs because the spirit within recognizes that there is a hidden power at work sapping the life out of that personal interaction. That hidden power is previously-embraced lawlessness, the already-accomplished choice of what is “right” and “good” in one’s own eyes. It is the most pervasive, slow-acting poison the devil has launched against the human race to date.

Because there is this deep-seated affinity for life in the follower of Christ, the true follower will – whether he can articulate why or not – “instinctively” withdraw from those places and people who, in reality, practice death and darkness. This is why there has been mass exoduses from those “churches” where there was not the life of Christ but instead a cold, bureaucratic system that mimicked life even as it mocked it.

The true followers of Christ, especially in these days of apostasy and lawlessness, in those temporary moments when he has no light by which to direct his steps, should consider well which way leads to life by exposing the hidden ways of death and darkness and which ways lead one further into the hidden bondages of death and darkness. It is Christ’s way to often wait for a diligent follower of His to press through and overcome before granting that follower a fresh, new “face to face” encounter with the Person and nature of God. Follow life, especially His divine abundant life, with a pure and undivided heart and you will see the God who is Light and Life. ( Mt. 5:8; top )

Paul, in one of the many places where the New Testament contrasts light and darkness, gave clear instruction: “[Love one another], knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” ( Rom. 13:11-14; top )

Let he who has ears hear.

I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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