Kingdom of Light (1)
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1.13, 14
Light is one of the most familiar images associated with Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. And precisely because it is so familiar, it’s easy to lose sight of just what a powerful image this is.
We who believe in Jesus have been delivered from a domain of darkness into the realm of Him Who reigns as the Light of the World (Jn. 8.12). In Him we become the light of the world (Matt. 5.13-16) as we radiate the reality of Jesus and His Kingdom through all our words and deeds.
The world around us beyond the pale of saving faith is all darkness, and the darkness is very deep, indeed. We need to understand just how dark the world is apart from Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures use the idea of darkness in many ways. The first use is in Genesis 1.2, where we read that the unformed earth was shrouded in darkness. Darkness denotes not only the absence of light but a kind of incompleteness, lacking shape, purpose, form, direction, meaning, and substance. Darkness comes up short of that good condition God desires for His creation.
Later, in Genesis 15.12, darkness is associated with dread, fear, and uncertainty. Only when God comes to speak to Abram in the darkness are his doubts resolved and his fears dispelled. Darkness is not where God intends the earth and its people to remain. He comes into the darkness to dispel it.
Darkness is also associated with the presence of God in judgment and wrath. Darkness heavy enough to be felt enveloped the people of Egypt as God poured out His wrath on Pharaoh’s recalcitrance (Ex. 10.21). The suffering psalmist of Psalm 88 descended into a judgment of darkness (v. 18), foreshadowing here the darkness that enveloped the earth as Jesus suffered the wrath of God for our sins (Matt. 27.45). Job employed the image of darkness to signify death and unfruitfulness (3.1-6), confusion (5.14), chaos (10.20-22) frustration and uncertainty (19.8), and complete dissolution and despair (20.26).
Darkness and wickedness
One of the more common uses of the image of darkness is to depict wickedness and sin. The path of darkness is the opposite of the way of uprightness (Prov. 2.13). The way of the wicked is like deep darkness as men stumble over their iniquities, harming themselves and others (Prov. 4.19). The works of darkness are unfruitful and displeasing to the Lord (Eph. 5.10, 11).
This wickedness is ultimately associated with spiritual powers, which roam the darkness, far from the light of God, and work to impose their dark ways on every unwitting and incautious person (Eph. 6.12). Ultimately, complete and unremitting darkness, where all these images of darkness combine and compound, is the final disposition of those who continue to oppose the light of truth and the Gospel (Jude 8-13).
Whistling in the darkness?
As a child in middle school, I often walked home after basketball practice during the winter months, when it was dark and cold. The quickest route took me through the largest cemetery in our town, and I never walked through that place without a sense of dread, talking to myself and whistling in the deep darkness, to bolster my soul against the fear of the unknown.
It is a terrible thing to dwell in darkness, as doubtless many of us can remember from our experience prior to coming to faith in Jesus Christ. We are not meant for the darkness, for confusion, uncertainty, sin, dread, and death. This is the life of those who do not know the Lord, all who have not gained entrance into the Kingdom of Light, where Jesus enlightens every person with the grace and truth of God.
The confident, boastful, self-assured ways of the lost are only so much whistling through the graveyard, for they know they inhabit a deep darkness of doubt, uncertainty, insecurity, disappointment, discouragement, and the fear of death (Heb. 2.15).
Such people may put on a happy face, confident that their gray skies are going to clear up at any moment, but in their souls, dark doubts loom.
Look around you: Many of your neighbors, co-workers, school mates, and friends are dwelling in deep darkness. Oh, they seem to be doing just fine. They seem to be just fine, thank you, but then, so did you and I before the light of Christ dawned in our soul. And you can know this for sure: Darkness deep and fearful enshrouds the lost day after day after day.
And you and I are called to show them the way to the Light.
1. How is it evident to you that this world is draped in deep darkness?
2. What did Jesus mean by saying that believers are the light of the world? How do we fulfill that calling?
3. Meditate on 1 John 2.8. What are the implications for your life as a believer?
Next steps – Conversation: Talk with some of your Christians friends about ways you might become more consistent at showing the Light of Christ to the people in your Personal Mission Field.
How bright is the light of Christ’s Kingdom in your life? Order the book The Kingdom Turnfrom our online store, and discover what it means to see and seek the Kingdom (click here).
Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can contribute online, via PayPal, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.