Light Illuminates Darkness, Righteousness Illuminates Sin, Evil Hates Them Both, But Grace Is Beautiful
Jesus gave us some insight into what his arrival meant when he said:
[T]he light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
He also told his followers that:
You are the light of the world. People [do not] light a lamp and put it under a basket… In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In your life, know that you will either hate the light that exposes who you really are before God, or you will love that light because it illuminates your need for the Gospel. But how ever you respond to the light, whether you hate it or realize that there is refuge found in Christ, the sinner that you really are under that light is the same either way. You need to understand that truth if you understand little else, for to understand it is to understand grace, to not understand it is to not understand grace, and to not understand grace properly is to not understand your position before God properly, or his love. And not understanding all of these is epidemic.
We start with God who is holy and righteous. I would ask you, dear children, to meditate on those words, holy and righteous. I’ll say it again for emphasis, He is holy and righteous; holy, holy, holy is He. Ask yourself what that means? His holiness is not to be passed over lightly. It deserves your deep consideration.
I heard R. C. Sproul refer to a poll once that revealed that more Christians believed that Jesus was raised from the dead than believed that he lived a sinless life. I understand this kind of thinking because holiness is even more of an unfathomable thing for us to grasp than being raised from the dead. Yet Jesus lived a sinless life. He was holy. Wow!
From His holiness we work our way to us. We are sinful, and that sin causes a great chasm between us and God. We must understand how utterly sinful we are before a holy and righteous God if we are to get a glimpse of the cross and know grace. I might be able to pull off a temporary appearance of sinlessness for a few hours before men, but who I really am is known to God. My thoughts betray a different man. There is every kind of wickedness in me. God is holy, but I am unholy, and His light illuminates that unholiness.
But the key is the effect holiness has on you. If you love your unholiness, you will hate the light. If you hate your unholiness, you will love the light even though it exposes your evil deeds. If you hate the light, it’s because you are central and foremost in your own eyes. You will live your own brand of righteousness based on your own merit and according to your own capricious standards. If you love the light, Jesus is central and foremost. He is righteous and that is enough, indeed it must be enough lest you be eternally condemned, for it is by His standards that your righteousness will be judged, not yours. And likewise, it will be by His righteousness that you will meet His standards, not yours. Therefore, amazing grace.
But beware my dear children. Men who love darkness pervert grace in an effort to again put the light under the basket. The light was not meant to hide our evil deeds, it was meant to expose them. If the true beauty of grace is to shine forth, if it is to be witnessed and glorified in, if we are by grace to endure suffering as fellow heirs with Jesus, and if we are to praise God rather than ourselves and the emotions that our selves conjure up, then we must understand grace.
The more that we are sanctified, the closer we come to the light. The closer we come to the light, the more of our sin that becomes illuminated. The more sin that is illuminated, the more grace we realize that we need. In the end, there is only grace. Grace allows us to enter the intense light of holiness, and in that intense light see what we have been forgiven of, and to then live in praise and gratitude for that forgiveness. And the more we draw near to that light, the more forgiveness we realize we have received, and the more forgiveness that we realized we have received the more gratitude we have, and the more gratitude we have, the more our hearts are drawn nearer to the light that exposes us, and thus the more we are inclined to praise, worship and glorify the God who provided forgiveness.
Grace that is exploited to hide our sin from our own sight also hides true grace from our sight. If our sin is no big deal because of grace, then grace is no big deal when we sin. That kind of grace does not cause us to worship God in gratitude for forgiveness, but rather it forgives us for worshiping ourselves. It brings us to a worship of an image of ourself seen in the dark, our sin unexposed, and in return we glory in our perception of God’s approval of our self-created, whitewashed image of ourselves. But either way, whether we rebel against God through rejecting his law outright, or by hiding behind a false notion of “grace,” the end will be the same, the light will be hated.
Be ever discerning my children. Jude said that, . . . certain people have crept in unnoticed . . . who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” You will live in a time of sifting. Hold tight to God’s grace. Remember who you were and would be without Christ so that you won’t forget who you are in Christ and the mighty and powerful work that was done in you by him. Cling to him ever harder as you draw near to him and the light increases. Increase in joy increasingly for what you have received, and are receiving, as the light increases with ever more light, and grace increases with ever more grace, so that you may cross the river of death, and enter into the Celestial City, utterly cleansed and utterly forgiven… and utterly thankful.