This post is part of an ongoing series in the study of John we are doing during January. Subscribe to the blog for daily updates in the Bible Study posts. Subscribe to the podcasts to hear our discussion of the book of John throughout this month. Join us in your daily devotions as we travel through this fascinating account of the life of Christ.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)
I truly believe that at the end of all things, when we stand before God, if we are somehow allowed to look back on the life we lived and the world we live in – we will be astounded by the levels of darkness that saturate this worldly life. Even things we presume as enlightenment in this world are simply different shades of darkness. Reason. Tolerance. Humanitarianism. This world is fallen, and everything born of this world is born of darkness and confined to darkness.
The relationship between light and darkness is not negotiable. There is no compromise. One of the reasons Jesus used the light to describe Himself, His work, and His Kingdom was because there is absolute contrast between light and darkness. When we believe in Christ, we leave the fellowship and adherence to the darkness of this world and enter into the light. That absolute distinction is meant to distinguish and define us separate from anything in this world.
giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:12-13 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:5-6 (NKJV)
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV)
The dawning of light in our lives is evidence of our turning to Christ. The continuing outflow of that light demonstrates the deepening of our walk with Him. We do not walk partially with Christ and partially with this world. It is all or nothing, according to scripture.
Furthermore, our identification as light places us at odds with the world of darkness we inhabit.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5 (NKJV)
Later in this study of the gospel of John, we will find that our identification with Christ guarantees we will receive opposition from the world. Light and darkness do not agree with one another, and they never will.
More Than Tension
While our relationship to Christ means the dawning and ever-increasing presence of light, tensions with this world are not the only byproduct of that. Light means we are awakened to the reality all around us. We are made aware of the darkness, and we begin to overcome the darkness.
An interesting detail from history involves the change in attitudes toward children that came about due to the light manifested in the earth through those who believed in Christ. In the Roman Empire, unwanted children were seen as useless and literally thrown into the dump like garbage.
The early church changed this norm, placing value on human life and even unwanted children. This was light shining in the darkness even when those of the darkness had no idea the lights were out.
As believers, the light should define our life. The norms of this world are irrelevant to determining right and wrong, truth, and how we live. Our defining posture for all things is Christ Jesus and His Spirit, alive and active within our hearts. We should see the world differently since we are children of light rather than darkness. We should not apologize for those differences.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)