Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Light of Christ

2 Corinthians 4:1-5 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.

6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ

Christ’s glory is primarily orientated from the concept that He is the very essence of God. The source of the gospel’s light is the light of Jesus Christ Himself. Scripture states that God is light & Revelation makes abundantly clear that Christ Himself will radiate His brilliance upon the new Jerusalem (21:23, 22:5). Spiritually, Christ’s radiance is like that of the sun; He never stops shining, we are in darkness only because we are turned away. The god of this world may be the immediate cause of our blindness, but as with Adam, the greatest enemy is closer to home. God allowed Satan’s temptation in the garden as nothing more than a litmus test for the sin otherwise quietly forming within the heart of His creation. God allowed both the tree & the serpent as but tools to expose the darkness within Adam. The Lord knows the thoughts of all men (Matt. 9:4, Luke 16:15, Acts 1:24) & so does not do this for His own benefit, for His own insight into the depth of our heart, but that we would perceive our greatest enemy. The greatest force standing in opposition to the new creation is the old creation. “We have met the enemy and he is us” never rings more true than here, but our Lord exhibits the full force of His power by overcoming all malevolent forces to shine in our hearts once more.

To exemplify this, consider Jesus’ words to Peter as He prophesies of the disciple’s greatest fall away…

Luke 22:31-34 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; (32) but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (33) But he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!" (34) And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me."

Consider many things here…

1) That Satan must petition God to do anything to His elect (also Job 1&2)

2) That Christ will allow such persecution to come to His elect

3) That Christ will put limits on Satan’s influence so that our faith will not ultimately fail, but will often instead be ultimately built up (1Cor 10:13)

4) That Christ sovereignly has the entire episode in view, both Peter’s failure & “when” Peter would “turn again” back to Christ once more, showing that Christ in fact knows all things, the end of things even before the beginning of them (Is. 46:10, Rev. 21:6)

5) That with Peter’s proud boast of his perceived abilities, he failed to comprehend his inability to continually will himself into a bond with Christ, despite his (momentarily) great passion for Christ, which failed hours later at the moment the Lord rebuked him & healed the man’s ear the disciple had cut off.

Yes, as with Peter, our turning away cannot endure forever if He has ever shone His glory in our hearts in the first place. John’s gospel says of Him- “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:5). Spiritual darkness, no matter its source, is no match for the indomitable light of Christ.

Some may be alarmed that God would test us to the utter extent of the thoughts of our heart, but David perceived otherwise; see his great enthusiasm for such an event in his life… 

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

See, David understood one of the ways our Lord demonstrates His love for His children is to test us in order to shine the light upon the darkness that would otherwise silently consume us & take us into the depths of Hell. 

Always praise God for illuminating evil within you, for by this He is expressing His steadfast love for you!

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