19 – ENGAGING THE POWERS OF THE KINGDOM – THE POWER OF LIGHT
Light, and its counterpart, darkness, is one of the major themes of Scripture.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” 1 John 1:5 NLT
God is the source of all light. This includes physical light as well as revelation, enlightenment, understanding and righteousness.
In the beginning, before God sorted out the darkness and chaos that existed on the earth…
“The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Genesis 1:2 NLT
… He spoke “light” into the situation. This light was not physical. We know that because He spoke the sun, moon, and stars into existence on the fourth day.
“Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19 NLT
What was this “light” that separated “day” from “night”? Sometimes we have to decide whether the Bible is speaking literally or figuratively. If it makes no sense to interpret a statement literally, we must look for its meaning in another way.
If there was no sun or moon to reflect God’s light, since He is the source of all light, this light must have come directly from God. Does the Bible confirm this idea?
John begins his gospel record by taking us back to the beginning of time. He wrote a commentary on Genesis 1 that clarifies what Moses wrote.
‘In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:1-5 NLT
So, it seems that John is telling us that the Father and the Son were involved in creation together. Of course, everything came about by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead were active in creation.
However, it is the Son’s presence in creation that brings enlightenment to us since the Son’s role is to explain the Father to humans. Jesus came to earth as a human being to explain the Father and His purposes for us so that we would receive the truth by faith and be restored to our position as God’s children in His family.
“And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:2-3 NLT
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” John 1:14 NLT
John called Jesus “the Word”. God spoke the word and the Word brought what God said into being through the Spirit.
I think that what John was getting at here is that Jesus, the light of the world, brings enlightenment, understanding, and meaning to what God did in creation and in all His dealings with us as part of His creation.
“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” John 1:9 NLT
Before John started telling us his version of the story of Jesus, he made it clear that everything we need to know about our relationship with the Godhead only gets its meaning through the life and teaching of Jesus. He is the only one who can make sense of life for us. Every other philosophy or religion is nonsense, brings confusion and leads us away from what God purposed for the human race… true life as children in the family of God.
When we believe that this is true…
“To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” John 1:12-13 NLT
… therefore, Jesus could say…
“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT
LIGHT AND DARKNESS IN THE SPIRITUAL CONTEXT
We have looked at “light” in the context of revelation and enlightenment. Now we add to our understanding by seeing light and darkness in the context of righteousness and sin.
When Adam chose to disobey God, he stepped out of light into darkness. He lost his status as innocent and became guilty. His mind became confused and he could no longer receive or live according to God’s light.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.” Romans 1:20-22 NLT
Adam, and the human race that was born through him, became God-haters. Their thoughts and lives functioned in the realm of sin, “darkness,” Jesus called it and, because of this, judgment will come on all who hate the light.
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” John 3:19-20 NLT
Therefore, according to Jesus, everyone who has not received “the Light” is under judgement.
Jesus is “the Light of the world” but how can we be sure that we are walking in this light and following Him?
There is a close and intimate connection between the written Word of God and Jesus, the Word who became human. Everything that Jesus embodies for us was written down so that we would have a permanent and infallible point of reference.
Psalm 119 uses a simple illustration.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 NLT
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalms 119:130 NIV
Paul told Timothy
“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 NLT
So, once again, we come back to the importance of filling our minds and hearts with the written word of God.
Jesus assured His disciples that His departure would be of great benefit to them because He would send His Spirit to live in them.
“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you…. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” John 16:7, 13-15 NLT
It is the Holy Spirit’s role to imprint God’s Word on our hearts from which source He will bring to mind whatever we need to guide us on our journey to the Father with Jesus. He can only do this if the Word is in us and available to us when we need it.
We have been exploring two major interlinking themes in this series on engaging the powers of the kingdom. We are learning how to be true sons and daughters of God by overcoming the environment and influence of the world, the evil desires of our flesh and the lies of the devil that try to lure us away from our trust in God.
As children of light
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Ephesians 5:8-9 NLT
… we are called to walk in the light. According to John, the test is simple….fellowship with our fellow believers shows that we are in fellowship with the Godhead.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 NLT
As we live our daily lives guided by the truth of God’s Word which the Holy Spirit helps us to remember, we will also be in harmony with our Christian family. The blood of Jesus will keep on keeping us clean from the effects of sin in our lives.
This leads us to our next topic… the power of unity.
All Scripture quotations in this series
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.