In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day and the darkness he called night, and there was evening and there was morning – the first day
God continued over the next several days to create the world, as we know it today. Everything from the sky, to land, to plants and vegetables, to the sun and moon, to the stars, to all animals, all culminating toward the pinnacle of God’s creation, Man.
Man was a creation quite different than what had been made in the previous days. Where God had spoken everything else into existence, man was formed by the dirt in the very image of God, and had the breath of life breathed into them.
Man was designed for a twofold purpose: 1. To be in relationship with God, and 2. To work and take care of the Garden of Eden. And along with this twofold purpose in life, the Lord also gave Adam one single commandment: “do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, otherwise you will surely die”
After this Adam began doing what he was made to do: take care of the garden. God gave him the specific task of naming all the animals and birds. Through this God knew that Adam needed a partner, because he could find no suitable helper for Adam
So God sent Adam into a deep sleep and removed one of Adam’s ribs and fashioned the absolute perfect partner and helper for Adam … Eve. Eve was flesh of Adam’s flesh and bone of his bone; they worked together to fulfill the purpose of their creation.
One day while Adam and Eve were in the Garden, Satan, in the form of a serpent came and prompted Eve, in the presence of Adam, to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by raising doubts in her mind about God’s motives and instructions, saying that God really didn’t mean they would die, he just didn’t want them to become like him.
And the lie worked, through the Serpents persuasion Both Adam and Eve ate this fruit, thus breaking the single commandment God had in place for them to honor and obey. Severing their relationship with God, and removing them from the light of God’s life.
Because of the sin of Adam and eve, they and all mankind to follow were cut off from the presence of God. Where once they lived in the very light of God, in his life, they and all their descendants were now damned to spend their days in spiritual darkness. But you know the funny thing about mankind is how incredibly adaptable we are. Our bodies adapt to our surroundings that we may at least be comfortable where we are. The longer we spend in darkness, be it physical or spiritual, the more natural it feels.
A way to understand this would be to look at the character Sméagol/Gollum from the lord of the rings.
Sméagol started out as a normal person who had a very normal existence for those where he lived. But one day Sméagol was out with his relative fishing for his birthday. His relative stumbled across a beautiful golden ring (which the reader or viewer could see as symbolism of sin, temptation, and the power of evil, though that was not the natural intention of J.R.R. Tolkien, but the correlation can be made), which drives Sméagol to murder his friend and steal the ring, thus committing and embracing sin. After this act Sméagol used the ring to steal and play pranks on people. He was eventually exiled from his community and hid in a system of caves at the base of a mountain for multiple centuries. Sméagol immersed himself in darkness.
Looking back to physical darkness we can see that the first few minutes in the dark are weird and unfamiliar, but soon you begin to make out the shapes of things, and in time you can see quite well. The same goes for our spiritual states, where at first Adam and Eve would have felt completely shocked, confused, and likely empty outside of the light of God, in time the shock and confusion would become the normal track of life, and the emptiness would become a familiar numbness.
How natural would darkness feel then for those who have never seen light? How much easier would it be for those descendants of Adam and Eve to live spiritually darkened lives. Lives absent of the light of God, lives that can only be described as totally depraved. And now as the reality of our darkened spiritual state sets in, I want you to look at your hands, because now we are talking about you, and we are talking about me.
As we think about Sméagol, we see that the combination of the evil power of the one ring, and the utter darkness of the mountain caves over a period of hundreds of years, completely twisted and distorted Smeagol’s body, character, and personality.
His eyes widened and developed the ability to see in the dark, his skin became translucent due to never being in the sun, his body became hard and calloused from living on stone. And the Disassociate Identity known as “Gollum” plagued his mind. As we visualize the horrendous being that is Gollum, I cant help but notice that we go through these same changes when we are living in sin and are separated from the light of God.
Because of Adams sin, we being part of mankind find ourselves morally and spiritually depraved – twisted by a tendency to sin. Our body is affected by sin; sickness or disease spawning from our sinful behaviors. Sexually transmitted diseases resulting from our sinful choices, obesity caused by our laziness and still bodies … gross. Sin not only twists, but as we see, it destroys our bodies.
Our will is corrupted by sin; where our motivation would have been to be with god and glorify him, as we look at ourselves now, in the darkness, we see our motivation is not God’s glorification, but ours. Everything we do is motivated by our American “be the best, be rich, have fun, be rich, never struggle, be comfortable, have it your way” desires. We are selfish wretched creatures with no concern for anything but our own desires.
Our hearts and minds are tainted by sin; in the dark, our thoughts are infected by the cancer of sin. Thoughts and impulses of anger, rage, deceit, lust, on all things opposite the light. Our speech and behavior are effected by sin; and as our thoughts and motivations center on sin, so go our actions.
Everything we do and everything we are is completely darkened and unlike God, we find ourselves separated and alienated from his light, and because you and I were not in the garden, because we have never seen the light of God, sitting in darkness seems normal …. Seems right.
But, as normal and natural as this darkness may feel, our sinful state disgusts God, because of the sin that is in every part of us, we are considered wretched and detestable, our sin is an abomination to the holy and righteous God. And because we are so unlike God, because everything about us works against God, we find ourselves as his enemy. Though we don’t glorify God in any way right now, he will receive glorification in the end be it by our choice to glorify him in life, or by him judging and destroying evil, and all associated with it once and for all, and being that we have never seen the light, being that we are twisted and marred by sin, we find ourselves as ones associated with evil.
Because of our total depravity, we in our own power are totally incapable of winning favor with God. We are destined for destruction, destined to be the recipients of the wrath of God. And when it comes to that point of judgment, we find ourselves as the enemies of God, worthy of his wrath.
Unless god were somehow to intervene
And intervene God did, but to understand how we need to go back to the beginning. What I’m about to tell you comes from the book of John chapter 1
Jesus was at creation, in the beginning with God. John Begins his gospel by calling Jesus “the word”. By using this title for Christ, John presents Jesus as the personal word of God, through whom he spoke all things into existence. The fact that Jesus was in the Beginning with God at creation is a testament to his deity. Christ was not created; He is eternal and infinite; without beginning or end. this also shows that he (Jesus) has always been in loving companionship with the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the life and light of Man. Jesus life, death, and resurrection were the decisive interventions necessary to bring mankind from their state of enmity with God to a place where Justification, forgiveness of sins, and salvation is possible.
We see this salvation made possible in verses 10-13
God offers the ability to be considered his child and taken out of darkness. Salvation is more than just praying a sinner’s prayer. Salvation is based off of more than just God’s love wanting to be back in relationship with us. For too long the church has slipped into a mindset that focuses on the loving, flowery side of Jesus and his sacrificial atonement. I would argue that the church has neglected the other half of the character of God in relation to salvation.
That other half is God’s perfect wrath and immanent judgment. And when we take into account the entirety of God’s character, seeing that he is completely opposed to evil, and plans to destroy it once and for all. How much greater does the love of God then become, now understanding that God sent Jesus to not only make a way for a relationship, but also to provide a means for justification, so that anyone who has faith in Jesus may be reckoned as being in right standing before god.
Belief in the death, resurrection, and lordship of Christ makes us children of God, saved by grace, and that grace is not only the catalyst of salvation, but also the very reason why children of darkness, brought into light must cast off the ways of darkness, because their lives now are made to Glorify God
But we already know that, we saw and stepped into the light years ago, hopefully we live lives that honor God and we walk in the light. So what on earth could this possibly mean for us?
Just as John the Baptist was sent to prepare the world for Jesus, so we as Christians are sent into the world to prepare the hearts of those we encounter to receive Jesus!
John was sent to bear witness of the light, so we as Christians are meant to bear witness about the light. Our lives need to be shining examples of the light of God; everything from our speech, to our relationships, to our choices needs to be evidence of the fact that we do live in the light of Christ.
And just as John was so obsessed with calling Israel to repentance, so also we need to be obsessed with showing people the light of life.
But here’s where it gets difficult, even Jesus the creator himself was not believed or received by everyone, in fact, John specifically said in verses 10-11 that the world didn’t know him and his own people rejected him. So what does this mean for us?
Not everybody is going to believe the truth we are bringing. Just as turning the lights on in a room after becoming use to the darkness can be slightly shocking, the same goes for those who have lived in darkness their whole lives, light may hurt in the beginning, and will take time to become fully adjusted to it. And in those times we must be patiently interceding on the behalf of those very people.
Some people will hate the light, and do everything within their power to snuff out both the light, and its bearer. Bearing the name of Christ will not be easy, and may cost us our lives. It cost John his, it cost almost all of Jesus’ disciples theirs, it cost Jesus his once, why should we not in some way be prepared for the same potential result? And some will plain deny the Gospels reality, because they would rather live in the dark.
And though some wont believe the truth we bring, we must still be focused on brining those very people into the light, to a place where they live to honor God, that they may spend eternity glorifying God in his presence, rather than glorifying God because of his judgment of the wicked.
We are called to be Bearers of God’s light, to be lights in the darkness, wherever we go we reveal God’s light, a lot of people will believe us, we will se changes made in the lives of those we minister to, and communities may be impacted by God because of our faithfulness to what God has called us to do: prepare peoples hearts to receive the light.
We are called to be the John the Baptists of our generation; we are called to bring the light, the gospel, into the places of our world, of our communities that don’t know Christ. When we bear God’s light, darkness is driven out. But to effectively bear the light, to be proclaimers of this truth, we must walk in the light. You cannot hold up a torch in the dark and not be surrounded by the light the fire gives.
Let me restate that: if you are living in sin, you will not preach a full or true gospel. If we claim to be representatives of Christ, yet live opposite his ways we lie to those we bring the truth to.
The book of 1 John makes this very clear:
We are called to walk in the light, but what are the dark areas of our lives?
Men – what do your thoughts look like? What kind of stuff comes up on your computer when no one is around?
Women – it would be naïve for me to assume that girls don’t struggle with the sexual issues of pornography and lust. I know for a fact that a great deal of women struggle with this issue. Familysafemedia.com shows that 1 in 3 visitors to an adult site are women. So women: what do your thoughts look like?
Everybody – what does our attitudes, our actions, our speech, our character say to the world about what living in gods light looks like? Are your words to others hurtful and degrading? Are you a thief? Do you get drunk regularly? Does strife follow where you go?
Remember: you cannot hold up a torch in the dark, and not be surrounded by the light the fire gives. If we walk in the light, we live in the light.
If you are living outside the light of God and know you need to be back in right relationship, I challenge you to make things right today, if you are just overcome with thanksgiving at God’s grace, mercy, and love and need to spend some time praising him, I encourage you to spend some time meditating on him. If you need to take some reflective/introspective time, do so.
There is a dark and dying world outside the Christian/church bubble, and we are called to bring the truth, bring the light into it. We must be ready to do so.