Light from beginning to end

The Bible begins with the creation of light by a word from God, Genesis 1.3. It ends with a mention of the light of God, tying it with the privilege of his people reigning forever: “Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever” Revelation 22.5.

Light is important as a Bible theme because:

1. God is light, 1 John 1.5

Light comes into being as a result of God’s power. The creation started with light. God spoke and it existed. Its creation before the heavenly bodies speaks to its nature as emanating from God. We speak, rightly so, of the moon not having its own light but only reflecting the light of the sun. Similarly, no heavenly body — sun or stars — has, in one true sense, any light of its own. God put them there. He caused them to exist and to shine. He is the only real source of light.

John affirmed that “God is light” 1 John 1.5. Light is his nature. By this use of the word light, John means his truth (revelation), holiness, and life. God’s light is our starting point. His light determines who we are, how we think and act, what our very goal in life is.

In Jesus we are able to see with greater clarity and brilliance the light of God. “I am the light of the world” John 8.12. He is the “light of life.” But many prefer to walk in darkness, John 3.19. There can be no life or light without following and obeying Jesus.

2. Christians are light, Ephesians 5.7-10

Therefore do not be partakers with them, for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light — for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth — trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

Here, light becomes a spiritual concept. It emphasizes the conflict between light and darkness, between good and evil. “So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light” Romans 13.12. It also reminds us that light overcomes darkness, so that the two are not equal, John 1.5. That’s an encouraging truth!

If Christians are light, they ought to live according to its reality. Only in this way can they please God and cause others to glorify him, Matthew 5.16.

It is a glorious thing that what Jesus says of himself he also says of Christians: “You are the light of the world.”

3. The church is light, 1 Peter 2.9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The one and only church of Jesus Christ exists only because of God’s calling. (All other groups are the product of man.) That calling pulls us into his light. His light is marvelous.

Last week, our brother in Christ, Ron Jackson, was here from Florida for a week of meetings with his employer. He taught and preached in the congregations here, even with a heavy schedule of meetings in his job. He cited a sister in Christ who mentioned that she was “too blessed to be stressed.” When we perceive the marvelous nature of God’s light, and the royal identity that is ours as his people, we will walk humbly with God, trusting in his care, joyous in his presence.

Abiding in God’s light means possessing the mission to shine that light as his church. We have no other mission than this, to “proclaim.” Proclamation is done with words, with explanations of how to leave the darkness by answering God’s call to enter the light. The gospel is a message spoken with carefully prepared words about who Jesus is and what he accomplished on earth.

Draw near to the light

So are you drawing near to God for light? Are you drawn to Jesus as its source? Do you find in his word the power to produce light in you? Are you shining your light in the world? Are you a part of the one church, where light is? Are you proclaiming with words, teaching others about God’s marvelous light?

“… come, let us walk in the Lord’s guiding light” Isaiah 2.5.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet. His microblog is randal.us.

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