Walking In The Light
by Dr. Henderson Ward
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There are times when it is necessary to run, for by so doing you may prolong your life; there are times when jumping is to be expected, as in jumping for joy; there are times for walking, like walking by faith, walking with caution and walking with godly fear. However there is always the need for believers to walk in the light; not here the natural light of the sun or moon, or the light of human reasoning, all good and proper in their places, but the glorious light that God sheds on the path of the righteous.
It is to be acknowledged that God is opposed to darkness.
Darkness stands as a sentinel to the diabolical attempt of the forces of evil to usurp and control the divine processes that were intended to glorify our creator, and subject them to serve the evil designs of a power-hungry, envious megalomaniac.
There are lots of things we do not know about God, and because we don't some speculate as regards the big bang, interstellar conflict, war in heaven, and a lot of spurious theorising, but this we do know; that darkness was never part of God's original design (just like sin was never a part of God's design) and God confronted darkness with the most draconian demand ever issued as regards the universe.
Darkness was never intended as part of the universe because here is how the Bible states God's reaction to it:
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." (Genesis 1:2-4)
It is to be recognized that God inhabits the light.
Light is a metaphor for a lot of things and wherever the strands of the metaphor lead they all culminate in the realm of Almighty God. Just as all rivers have their ultimate destination in the sea so all light has an irreducible facilitation with God, flows from him, is sustained by him and will lead all those committed to him, unerringly and graciously to his throne.
In recognition of this glorious truth the Bible tells us this:
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)
The highly esteemed Adam Clarke commenting in his Bible Commentary on this verse put it so very well that it is worth repeating:
" God is light" - The source of wisdom, knowledge, holiness, and happiness; and in him is no darkness at all - no ignorance, no imperfection, no sinfulness, no misery. And from him wisdom, knowledge, holiness, and happiness are received by every believing soul. This is the grand message of the Gospel, the great principle on which the happiness of man depends."
Adam Clarke further expanded on light and darkness, as follows:
"LIGHT implies every essential excellence, especially wisdom, holiness, and happiness. DARKNESS implies all imperfection, and principally ignorance, sinfulness, and misery. LIGHT is the purest, the most subtile, the most useful, and the most diffusive of all God's creatures; it is, therefore, a very proper emblem of the purity, perfection, and goodness of the Divine nature. God is to human soul, what the light is to the world; without the latter all would be dismal and uncomfortable, and terror and death would universally prevail: and without an indwelling God what is religion? Without his all-penetrating and diffusive light, what is the soul of man? Religion would be an empty science, a dead letter, ...and the soul a trackless wilderness, a howling waste, full of evil, of terror and dismay, ...No wonder the apostle lays this down as a first and grand principle, stating it to be the essential message which he had received from Christ to deliver to the world."
We assert that light is critical to the accomplishment of Christian values.
It is certain that no one stumbles in darkness into a meaningful relationship with God. Darkness leads to darkness and for this reason God initiates light so that proper choices can be made.
Just like a lighted path through an otherwise impenetrable maze, God is gracious in that he always gives man an option other than continued darkness. To the children of Israel the option was put like this, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19) Even the minor prophet Micah acknowledged the options, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) In the New Testament it is put more directly to all humanity, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)
It is by loving the light, living in it, striving daily to stay focussed on it that believers are perfected in Christian holiness and become sanctified, mature and consecrated and thus fulfil all the mandates of godly living.
When the Bible says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48), a commendation that some find hard to understand, it is saying that to be godly; like God, to become truly Christian and live like Jesus Christ then it is necessary to be in the place occupied by God, i.e. living in the light.
All humanity is riddled with imperfections and fallibilities and prone to wickedness at every turn, so believers have emerged from that mess, converted and brought into the light. This new relationship with God, through his gracious mercies, enables us to love and walk in the light and some wonderful things happen as a consequence. John the Beloved tells us about these outcomes like this, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
When believers walk in the light:
1. They have good standing with God. This is what being a Christian is all about for first and foremost it is being in touch and communion with Almighty God. If this vital, living relationship is in place then virtuous living flows; not forcefully but naturally. No believer can act abominably or atrociously while maintaining this uplifting relationship.
2. They have good fellowship with other believers. Christians have a great affiliation with water and like water they will so easily combine and unite. Regardless of one's particular denomination, regardless of one's race, or gender, the ability to mix and get on with fellow Christians is part of what being a Christian is all about. (This writer can affirm this from his experience of having fellowship with believers not of his denomination; Orthodox Christians in Cyprus, Baptists in England and Pentecostals, Nazarenes and Seventh Day Adventists in Barbados)
3. They have the benefit of ongoing sanctification. Many people regard being saved as a product and it can be so argued; you are saved and that's it. People of a deeper understanding regard being saved as a process and Paul alluded to this when he said, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18 New International Version - U. K.) There is a need for ongoing cleansing and the believer who is walking in the light acknowledges this and constantly seeks God's face for his purification, "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 1:8-9)
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