THE LIGHT OF LIFE, #585
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (JOH 8:12).
As our Saviour brings us into His art gallery to reveal Himself to us by His illustrations, notice the total contrasts He uses to draw the picture. When he says, "I am the light," He is using a figure of speech. He is drawing us pictures, and in these pictures, He reveals Himself.
I was looking at a magazine this morning that has some beautiful pictures. If you see a picture that you can scarcely see the contrast between one object and another, the pictures beauty is very small. When you can see a glowing and a distinct contrast in the colors and the combinations and the figures, then you see a picture of Gods creation. You see a picture of a mountain, and you see the dark colors in the mountain, the white colors in the snow, and beautiful greens. You see the contrasts. The greater these contrasts, the more striking the beauty of that picture.
Christ draws us pictures to illustrate who He is. In this case scenario He draws a picture of what it means to be the light. The first thing He does is draw the black background. What do we see in this dark background? We see the blackness and closed-mindedness; we see the deliberate blindness and the depravity of those who walk in darkness.
The Lord is giving us to see the striking contrast between those who walk in the light and those who walk in darkness. Now take notice of the case scenario that He used as the dark, black background upon which He is illustrating to you and me what it is to walk in the light. He is showing us the depravity of the heart of man in that case scenario of these self-righteous leaders of the church bringing before Him one who was taken and condemned in sin. Then He takes that case scenario and He illustrates on that background what the True Light of Life is, in order to give you and me to understand the distinction. So what is the clear distinction of those who walk in the light? "Go and sin no more."
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery unto Him to ensnare Jesus in His teaching. I want you to see the depravity of heart that reveals itself in this case scenario. We need to see how these leaders of the church who are pretending to be the righteous, are revealed for the hypocrisy and corruption of their human nature.
Look at what they said in JOH 8:5-6a: "Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him." Here they are, bringing forth one that is condemned under the law; it is the self-righteous hypocrites who are condemning her. They brought her condemned under the Law of Moses, and she left pardoned by a loving Saviour. They came as self-righteous hypocrites, and they walked away condemned in their own hearts. Hereby our Saviour established the truth of 1JO 3:20, "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."
It was upon this screen that our Lord Jesus is beginning to paint His picture, where we see nothing but the dark shades of the kingdom of darkness, that our Saviour reveals the contrasting picture of who He is. The beauty that you and I will ever see in Christ, will never be seen until we see the dark shades of our own hearts.
On the same principle, the more we see of the beauty of Christ, the more we will see the sinfulness of sin, the greater the contrast will be between darkness and light. The more you understand of the love of the Father, the more you have learned to understand the love of the Son. The more you will understand the sinfulness of sin, but also the more the Lord opens our eyes to see the depravity of our own hearts, the more precious Christ becomes when He is revealed. This is what we are learning by this art gallery of the Lord Jesus Christ as He brings before us the background of the depravity of the human heart. The dark backdrop of our depravity, the self-righteousness, the hypocrisy, the pride, and their deceitfulness was revealed in their trying to ensnare Him in His gracious words so they could accuse Him.
Then our Lord comes forth in our text and says, "I am the light of the world." In this dark scene with self-righteous hypocrites now springs forth that blessed light of the gospel. "I am the light of the world. He that followeth after me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life."
Now, again to illustrate the darkness of their hearts. When He revealed that blessed contrast, what happened? In Verse 13 we read, "The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true." The most gracious words were only heard with a critical ear. They were trying to find something they could use to criticize what He said so they could accuse Him. They werent looking for the light that would reveal their own heart. They werent looking for the light of the gospel. They wanted to accuse Him that they might be able to kill Him.
Now our text says, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world." What did he say? He had revealed in their own consciences, saying, "You who are without sin cast the first stone." He spoke to them by a revelation of the Holy Spirit revealing in their own hearts who they were, and their own conscience told them of their wretched depravity. Now Jesus says, "He spake unto them again, saying, I am the light of the world."
This first stroke of His brush pierced the dark veil of blindness. Their blindness had broken through that dark veil when He said unto them, "You who are without sin cast the first stone." Their consciences told them that they were wrong. They saw and they realized, and they understood that penetrating light, it was revealing their depravity. It encased the darkened hearts of His venomous adversaries, but who were these adversaries? Were they the world, who had no interest in religion? Were they those who were full and satisfied with the things of this life? No. They were the leaders of the church. The Lord has a reason for this: "That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1CO 1:29)
You are not going to find consolation in a man. You cannot say, "Well I believe, and then start quoting old fathers, or start quoting a person, or start citing what this or this or this man said." No. The Lord says to come to "thus saith the Lord." That is why He allows those who are the most highly esteemed leaders of the church to walk in blindness.
Look at JOH 8:7; "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Have you ever thought unloving thoughts about another person? In your heart you are starting to cast a stone at that person - with such accusations as "He is greedy. He is proud. He is blind. He, he "
When the light comes on and you get a little glimpse in your own heart, your pile of stones disappears. You get to where you dont have one stone left to throw. You can look at the vilest of the human race and say, "Well, if that man knew what was in my heart, he would blush." Now we have no more judging of our fellow man. These self-righteous Pharisees were passing judgment upon a woman that they had brought condemned before Christ. They left condemned, and she left pardoned.
Why did they leave condemned? When the light came on, instead of repenting, it drove them away. The light did not draw them to Christ. It drove them away from Christ. Why? See what Jesus said in JOH 3:19-21 "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
In a symbolical way, Jesus stooped down the second time to write with His finger upon the ground. He revealed to His accusers that a shelter was planned for those who stand condemned under the law, when their hearts condemned them. If they had understood the symbol that Christ gave of writing on the ground, showing that that law that is written by the finger of God, written in stone, was placed in the ark of the covenant, and it was placed under the mercy seat sprinkled with blood.
So many people want to say: "Well, this is the law, and this is the gospel." Do you know something? The gospel is a law. How many people rightly understand that? It is a law that comes forth from Mount Sion and not from Mount Sinai. It is still the same law, but now the Lord has granted that in Christ we are now able to serve Him acceptably under the law of love. The Pharisees had not understood the law of love. Their law was a law of serving God as Master, rather than serving Him as Lord. Their law meant to them a slavish servitude rather than a matter of doing the will, the pleasure, of their God.
First, Jesus enlightened their consciences to see their own condemnation under that law. Then He drew attention to how Gods righteousness would be magnified in His Redemption plan. That is what we see in Christs writing on the ground. He is letting them know that that second table of the law that was written with the finger of God was not broken like the first, but it was placed under the mercy seat sprinkled with blood. Now there is mercy in that law. Now we can come to that law as having been fully satisfied by the perfect obedience of the Son of God. Now we serve Him in gospel obedience.
In PSA 85:9-11 we read: "Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together [how is that possible? The scribes and the Pharisees were trying to snare our Saviour in this dilemma. Here you are talking about mercy. Can you say, "Dont stone her" when the law demands it? How can those two find harmony?]; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." The righteous demands of the law and peace have kissed each other. Where? It took place in the perfect satisfaction of the Son of God.
It is as we learn to see the darkened backdrop of our own depravity, that the love of the Father in giving His Son, and the redeeming love of the Son become precious. As you learn to understand the depravity of your own heart, then you learn to understand that it was your sins that were placed in that crown of thorns that was set upon His head. Then you start to understand the price He paid for your sin. That is when holiness begins to shine forth with purity and splendor. Then we start to have a desire for purity and holiness because we see the perfect wedding gown that He purchased with the price of His blood. Then every stain that we put on that wedding gown, as we walk through this vale of tears, causes us to grieve.
True repentance comes as we learn to see how He purchased us-such pureness and such holiness-and every stain we bring causes us remorse over having sinned against such love. Now we understand what the Lord Jesus said unto the woman taken in adultery: "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Now, the desire for sin is broken. The power of sin is broken. We no longer desire to live in those old sins wherein we found pleasure in the past. Now we are the off-scouring of the earth. Now those sins are no longer such an attraction to us as the power becomes broken.
Any sinner who comes before Christ condemned and who really understands the condemnation of the law, will learn to see the grievous nature and exceeding sinfulness of sin. We learn to understand that all our sins are pardoned, and we learn to understand what He said to her: "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more." Then we will see the exceeding sinfulness of sin when pardoning grace is applied to the soul.
Those who have been renewed in the spirit of their mind will certainly assent unto the truth of what Jesus told those scribes and Pharisees. They turned from Christ when they became convicted in their conscience. Look at JOH 8:34: "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Can we go out and soil our wedding garments in the sins of this world? No. If we do, we are the servant of sin. We are not serving Christ. This is what Christ was saying when He told that woman: "Go and sin no more."
Light is the emblem of holiness and righteousness. Our text speaks of walking in the light or walking in the darkness. "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." He is talking about our walk of life. He is talking about the work of sanctification.
Look at PSA 37:6, "And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday." Light is the emblem of righteousness. Look at JOB 11:17: "And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning." When you and I have been delivered from the power of sin, we become a light to the world.
See the fitting introduction our Lord gave of Himself in our text. Look at JOH 8:12. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world [He is telling us who He is. Then notice the admonition that follows.] he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Does He say that everyone who claims to be a Christian will not walk in darkness? No, He is saying that only those that followeth Him.
Not only did the malice of Jesus enemies furnish a dark backdrop to reflect the contrast of His Divine light, it set the stage for Him to manifest Himself as the Vindicator of Gods holiness and justice. He showed therein how the condemnation of the law must be satisfied and that He came to vindicate Gods justice. He came to vindicate His holiness and His righteousness, that He would not grant a pardon at the cost of His justice, at the cost of perfect satisfaction of the law. He did not grant a pardon by allowing His law or His righteousness or His justice to suffer wrong. He came to vindicate that.
After His symbolic answer by writing upon the ground, He stopped the mouths of those lions with only one glimmer of Divine light that shined into their consciences. We see in JOH 8:7: "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Just that one little sentence with the light shining in their hearts, with their own sins revealed unto them, was enough to stop the mouths of those lions, who were there to take Him in His words and to try to find occasion to justify killing Him.
Look at JOH 8:9: "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one [that light shined into their hearts, and it convicted them] beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst." Now, those who came before Jesus in their own self-righteousness left condemned and to this sinner who came before Him condemned, Jesus did not say "Go in peace," but "Go, and sin no more." You cannot separate a pardon from repentance. You cannot separate a pardon from turning away from sins. You cannot be pardoned and continue in sin.
See how this same principle of the spotless purity of the "light of life" is the result of pardoning grace. Look at PSA 130:4. It is precious when we start seeing the harmony there is in Scripture: "But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." Why is there forgiveness? "that thou mayest be feared" is the reason. See the harmony between pardoning grace and sanctification. "That thou mayest be feared." In other words, that you might reverence the Holy will of God.
Now, our text says, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world." This word then directs our attention back to verse 2, where Jesus was sitting, teaching the people before He was so rudely interrupted. He went back to His teaching. What does that tell us? What was He teaching them? He was teaching them exactly what we find in verse 12: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." He went back to where He left off. He recovers His sermon.
After this rude interruption, Jesus again resumed His teaching. Though fully aware of their venomous designs, our Saviour possessed His soul in patience. Our text says: "He that followeth me." The Lord Jesus has just given a beautiful illustration of how He was attacked by His venomous enemies who came there to seek His lifes blood. As soon as He had put them to silence, by only giving them a glimpse of light, He resumed His same gracious teaching. He possessed His soul in patience without the least sign of provocation.
Our text says: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me He shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." He just gave an illustration of the spirit in which you and I are to walk. What is our reaction when somebody comes against us who is seeking to destroy us soul and body?
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Lets analyze this a little. Look at EPH 5:1: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." This word followers comes from the Greek word Mimetes (mim-ay-tace), which means "an imitator, follower." What am I going to do if Im going to follow Jesus Christ? I am going to look at the light that He sheds in my life by His example, by His attitudes, by the spirit in which He deals with circumstances.
A set of circumstances comes before me. How do I deal with those circumstances? Following the Lord Jesus Christ is not some mystic thing that you get caught up in. It is looking at His example and applying it to every set of circumstances that you encounter in this world. We imitate Him.
Wherein are we to imitate Christ? The very next verse tells us. Look at EPH 5:2: "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." What did Christ do? Love covers a multitude of transgressions. He covered our transgressions with His blood. What does He say? "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us." Now we understand the principle that Christ is teaching: "I am the light."
I just got through dealing with a set of circumstances, and I did not show frustration, I did not show bitterness, I did not show hatefulness, I did not pass judgment upon the people. I preached to them a gospel that will save their souls. "I am the light of the world." He walked in love. He gave His sacrifice to God for sweetsmelling savour.
Now lets go back into the context in which these truths are found and see how we can imitate Christ by walking in love. "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." So, now we are confronted with a set of circumstances. How are we going to deal with those circumstances? Are we going to follow the example of Christ? Are we going to imitate His example?
Lets follow this through. EPH 5:1 starts with "therefore." What does that tell us? To understand what that text means we must go back to the preceding verses. So lets go back to
EPH 4:23-32. This is the scenario that was being spoken of in EPH 5:1. So here are these circumstances where we must follow Christ: "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind [everything begins right there. Get your attitude straightened out, your attitude toward your brethren. That you are not of a judgmental spirit because that person did something that to you looks like it was wrong]; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying [it immediately goes into the law of love], speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another [we are all members of one body. The finger cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you. The foot cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you.] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
Every verse deals with circumstances that you and I are going to be confronted with in this life. We are called upon to imitate Christ in each of these circumstances. That is following Christ. Dont speak evil of another man. Now that doesnt mean only providing you love Him. The word "edifying" means to build them up. The Apostle Paul said: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (PHI 4:8) Dont look at a man critically. The Jews and the Pharisees were doing that to the Lord Jesus Christ. They were trying to be critical of the man as they saw Him to find occasion to accuse Him. Is this how we treat our fellow man. Do we look for occasions to be able to accuse him? Then we are not following Christ, for we are walking in darkness.
Verse 29 continues, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. [That it might edify the person, that we speak well of him, rather than that we try to be critical of the person.] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you."
Then we come to EPH 5:1: "And be ye therefore followers or imitators of God." When that light shines in our heart, we are to take the example of Christ and apply it to every set of circumstances that confronts us. The Lord Jesus is telling us that if we do this, we are not going to walk in darkness. We are not going to be lying on our beds at night murmuring in our hearts, trying to build a big case against someone else. We are going to be coming before the Lord with our own depravity and confessing, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." (PSA 130:3-4)
Now we come before Him pleading His mercy for our souls, not building up a big case against our brother. This is exactly what was happening in the case in our text. These self-righteous Pharisees were building up such a mountain of accusations before Christ against a poor sinner who stood condemned by the Law of Moses. Can any one of us plead innocence? No.
When you and I start to see into this and start analyzing the things that we have in our lifes history, if we put our hand in our bosom, we find that it comes out leprous. Then there is consolation in the Word that says, "forgive one another even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven you." Why does He forgive you? He forgives us that we may "go and sin no more."
Our text draws such a striking distinction between those who come to Christ in their self-righteousness and leave condemned and those who come before Him condemned and leave pardoned with the admonition: "Go, and sin no more."
Now our text says, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." There is a distinction between having the light and the light of life. Every human being in this world can have the light, i.e., the Word of God, but only those who follow Jesus have the light of life.
Jesus said in our text, "I am the light of the world." This means that even the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees had the light. It condemned them. They were convicted in their hearts, and they went away from the light. They had the light of the world, but they did not have the light of life. Those who have the light of life are those who see the light, are condemned in themselves. They come before Christ for a pardon, and they follow Him. They go and sin no more. He enlightens every rational creature. All creature-intelligence and ability to rationalize we receive from Him. You and I, human beings, are rational creatures. This we receive from Christ. The beasts are not rational. They do not have an intellectual understanding.
The unregenerate have "the light," they are capable of weighing good and evil. These unregenerate scribes and Pharisees were convicted when the light shined into their hearts. They realized that they were coming to condemn an innocent man, but they sinned against light. The light of life is when the light comes into the heart, the desire is to turn away from darkness and to walk in that light. They walked away from that light. They have a conscience, which either accuses or excuses them-even the unregenerate.
Look at ROM 2:14-15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." That is the unregenerate, that is the heathen, or the gentiles, who have never heard the gospel. It is the light of the world.
The unregenerate have the capacity to see and understand the evidence there is a Supreme Being. Look at ROM 1:19: "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them [How? I just read it to you out of ROM 2:14-15. They have the witness of their conscience that tells them there is a God]; for God hath shewed it unto them." God has shown the unregenerate. They have their consciences accusing and excusing. That is the light of the world. Christ is the light of the world. The great distinction is that the unregenerate do not have the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon their hearts to love the light. The unregenerate hide from that light. They hide in the darkness. They want to cover themselves so that the light cannot shine in them. Therefore, they want to flee from the light.
When we speak of a pardon, then we must understand that the Lord Jesus says repentance cannot be separated from a pardon, "Go and sin no more." When the light of life has enlightened us, we want to be delivered from our sins. That is the distinction between the unregenerate and the regenerate. The unregenerate are not distinguished by the fact that they do not have the light, but by the effect the light has on them. Does the light condemn, or does it work repentance? "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (ACT 11:18)
Look at JOH 3:19-20: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light [thats the distinction between the unregenerate and the regenerate. We all have the light. We all have a conscience. We all have a sense of discerning between right and wrong, but the unregenerate hide from that light. They dont want to hear that they are wrong. They dont want to be told when they have said or done something that is outside of what is right. Why?] because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
They have the light. Christ is the light of the world. That doesnt mean the world of the elect. I cannot find that statement in the Bible. The world has the light; it is a light that shines into the heart of every human being. Every human being will be held accountable when they come to the gate of heaven. "The Lamb is the light thereof," and that light shines into their souls. If they have fled from that light, and they would not come to that light because their deeds are evil, then they will not be able to approach that light to enter heaven.
The light condemns all who have not been renewed in the spirit of their mind by the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Do you see the difference? Those who are regenerate have been renewed in the spirit of their minds. They desire to know where they are wrong. They do not have a condemning spirit against their fellow man. They come to the light that their deeds might be made manifest, that they might be able to repent and be able to change their ways. The renewed desire of the heart is that they might be able to imitate Christ, that they might be able to follow Christ in the light of life.
Now, do you understand why it is called the light of life? There is a difference between the light and the light of life. The light of life is to those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The light condemns all who have not been renewed in the spirit of their minds by the new birth of the Holy Spirit.
Why does that light condemn? For the answer, lets look at ROM 8:7-8. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [the word carnal means the unregenerate mind.] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [Why? Because of their attitude.] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [the mental disposition of Christ], if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ [that mental attitude of Christ], he is none of his." If you are not a follower of Christ, you are not His.
Our text says, "he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Followers of Christ shall not be a gainsayers, shall not speak bitterness, shall not go out and strikes a brother. They are not going to walk in darkness. They are not going to walk imitating the devil. They are going to walk imitating Christ. Now we start seeing things in the light of the character of Christ.
So, we come up against a set of circumstances, and the first impulse of our old nature is that we rise up, defend ourselves, and come against our brother. Now we have to delete that instinct of our old nature. How do we do it? We can only accomplish that by walking in the footsteps of Christ, by imitating Him. Our text says: "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
In ROM 8:13-15 we read: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [When this old nature starts to rise up in us, we mortify it. We come to the Lord for grace and say, "Lord, help me" mortify that old nature of mine. We must mortify the deeds of the body, then we shall live. That is following Christ.] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear [you are not going to come back into bondage of that old sin nature, that old attitude, that old carnal reasoning]; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
How can you come before God and claim Him to be your Father while you have a heart filled with bitterness against your brother? We must be able to mortify those deeds of the flesh and come back in that Spirit of Christ to receive the spirit of adoption, adopted into the family of God.
Just as Israel followed the cloud in the wilderness, so we are to follow Jesus in our walk of life. Just as following the cloud led Israel from Egypt to Canaan, so following Jesus in His mental disposition will lead us from this world to reconciliation with our heavenly Fathers will. If you want to be reconciled with the will of our heavenly Father, the path is found in following the footsteps of Christ.
Our Saviour promises us in our text that the believer shall not walk in the kingdom of darkness as the unregenerate around us-"but shall have the light of life." That promise we see in JOH 3:21: "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." When we do what is upright, no white lies, no conniving, we "doeth truth." Charity is seeing every man in the best possible light. Do we exercise charity? We want the light to discern in our hearts where we are wrong. Is there something we need to repent of? Our concern will not be seeing something that someone else should repent of. No. Is there something I should repent of? We come to the light that our deeds might be made manifest.
Unto these enlightened scribes and Pharisees who were convicted in their own consciences by our Saviours marvelous light which shone into their hearts, He reveals that He is the Great Jehovah, the Great "I AM." What did they do? They took exception to it. They said: "Thou bearest record of thyself." They had to think of a new accusation because He revealed Himself: "I am the light." That great Jehovah, the Great "I AM." They want to start arguing with Him to defame Him even though they had the witness of the light in their own hearts. They knew what He said: "You who are without sin cast the first stone." They were convicted in their own hearts, and they were still self-righteous.
Against that dark background, the Lord Jesus Christ starts to illustrate the beautiful contrast of who He was: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." What a blessed revelation He gave of Himself.
These unregenerate, venomous, malicious enemies of all truth had the witness in their own conscience that Jesus was that true light which was prophesied in ISA 49:6. They were the ones who were the doctors of the law. They were the ones who were the authorities in the Word of God. What Jesus was saying was prophesied. "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth." (ISA 49:6) He was a light to Israel and to the Gentiles. This was prophesied of Him.
To those who have a holy reverence for His name we read, in MAL 4:2: "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." There is the balm of Gilead that heals every wound, every sore, every sin that we come confessing before Him. We come before Him in our depraved nature, and we confess before Him that we have sinned, He says, "I will arise with healing in my wings."
It was unto the scribes and Pharisees that the prophet Malachi prophesied in the name of the Lord in MAL 3:2-3: "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi [These very scribes and Pharisees, together with the priests and high priests were the sons of Levi], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness."
The word light in Scripture is sometimes the emblem of true knowledge, righteousness, holiness or purity. Darkness is the emblem of ignorance and error, guilt, depravity, and unbelief.
Because the true believer follows (or imitates) the True Light, he does not walk in the ways of the kingdom of darkness, he does not grope in the way of doubt and uncertainty. Look at COL 1:27: "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles [the light He is shining]; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." That is the light that He shines unto the world, that Christ in you is the hope of glory.
The believer who follows (or imitates), that Spirit of Christ not only sees where he is going, but he enjoys the light of Gods countenance. Our text says in JOH 8:12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Amen.
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