RELIGION COLUMN: The revelation of lightBy Staff Reports Published 2:58pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014
By Jake McCall
If you have ever been a part of the game “Capture the Flag,” you know that it is a game that should be played in the dark. The darkness offers the opportunities to hide and sneak around that just aren’t available when there is light. If it were played during the light of the day, hiding places and strategies would be revealed, causing the game to look completely different. This is because light brings clarity and revelation.
John tells us that “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6). This passage expresses God’s piercing goodness, and in so doing explains what the light of God does to darkness. The reason that we cannot walk in darkness while simultaneously being in fellowship with God is not because God does not enter the darkness, nor is it because our sinfulness completely breaks our fellowship with God. It is because the light of God illuminates what is naturally in the dark, which results in the revelation of our sin. When this happens we can either ignore it, attempt to smother the light and continue in the darkness, or we can see that it is God’s kindness that is illuminating our sin and leading us out of darkness and into the light of repentance.
John’s point is that revelation of sin does not keep us from God, nor does it ruin our relationship with God. In fact, revelation of sin is a key component in bringing us to God and it even strengthens our union with him because it is at that point that we find the need for the blood of Jesus his Son that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). So when we insist on keeping our sin hidden, we deceive ourselves (verse 8) and we call God a liar (verse 10).
John tells us this: The one who walks in the darkness will refuse to see their sin and they will continue in it. The light of the Lord will get dimmer and dimmer and will reveal their sin less and less, though it will still be there in droves. This leads to hardening and pride and the worst of consequences, but those consequences will always be blamed on someone else. Yet, the one who walks in the light will see their sin clearly as imperfections are always noticed under a bright light. Most of us fear what can come as a result of honesty and confession, and yet the Bible is clear that it is where God’s children must live.
Undoubtedly, this revealing light can be hard and painful, but it leads to humble repentance and causes the sinner to run to the mercy of Christ, trusting in his cleansing blood. This leaves the one who is in the light as the one who is overcoming sin, growing in faith, yearning for Jesus, in fellowship with the Father and still the chief of sinners. These are the wonders of his glorious grace.
—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church. His column appears each Thursday.