Let us pray: Dear Savior, how wonderful it is to bask in the light of Your truth and grace! How uplifting it is to be able to see the extent of Your love for us and to be able to share it and show it! Without Your light to guide us, we would all stumble and fall. But with it shining brightly the pathway to heaven is clear and unobstructed! What a blessing! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Have you ever noticed that horror movies, scary stories, or tales of evil always seem to take place in a dark, dank, foreboding place? Remember when you were a kid and sat around a campfire in the dark hearing tales of goblins and ghosts? If those same stories had been told in broad daylight they would have lost their terror. But at night, in the dark, when you cannot see what made that suspicious noise, well, you get the picture.
Throughout the Bible God and His allies are always portrayed in terms of light. Heaven is portrayed as a place of brilliance that ripples and pulses with never-ending light. Whereas Satan, demons, hell and sin are always spoken of in terms of darkness and foreboding. The reason for that isn’t just symbolic. No, the reason behind those word pictures conveys an amazing truth! Listen to a few passages: I John 1:5: “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” John 8:12: Christ says: “I am the light of this world.” And concerning Christ’s birth, Matthew quotes Isaiah and says: “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
Living in darkness with no sunshine breeds a case of the grumpies. There is even a sunlight deficiency syndrome that has been diagnosed. I dare say if you go on vacation and you have sunlight each day you’ll be happy. But if it rains and is gloomy each day you’ll be out-of-sorts. Why is that? Well, the answer is simple. Light is an essential characteristic of God and His goodness whereas darkness whispers fear and evil into our soul. And since God created us in His image, we need light to help make us truly happy!
Light is a singular theme of Transfiguration Sunday. The altar paraments are white to show it. The lessons all speak of it. And as we look at today’s epistle our very soul is stirred by the truth that:
GOD ENABLES THE BLIND TO SEE THE LIGHT!
One of the most fascinating passages in the Bible is Genesis 1: 1-4: “In the beginning God created the heavens (the stuff “up there”) and the earth (the stuff we stomp on). Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” In other words, light came directly from God. It was the first thing He created. He made it independent of the sun or the stars. The reason behind all of this was that: “God is light.” So right here He puts a part of His essential nature into His creation.
Of course, after creation came the fall into sin. And with it came a veiling of the light. Yes, I know, the photo-electric impulses that we call light still emanated from the sun. But the essential nature of God’s goodness, created for all to clearly see, became veiled to human beings. The darkness of death began to stalk us and fear ensued.
All people were now born with spiritual blindness. They engaged in evil, corrupting behavior which they feared God seeing. They began to embrace darkness while at the same time fearing it. The light was just too revealing. It showed every aspect of our nasty side. And yet, God wanted us to see the light, live in the light, and bask in the joy that it brings. He wanted us to be an integral part of Him, to become His children. And so He sent Christ, the Light of the World, to reveal and give us eternal light.
And the one source, or form, of this joyous light is the gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ. It is the one thing that can turn sin-darkened hearts into joyous ones. It is the singular truth that connects us with our Creator. To prevent it from scaring us, God uses human messengers and human words to disseminate His light. He “veils” it, as it were. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
It is an old saw that: “God hates sin and loves the sinner.” Hate is a strong word in our day. But, it certainly applies here. For He hates the demonic fear that darkness causes us and in love wants to rescue us from all our inner fears. And so, in pure love He sent us Jesus, His Son, to take on our darkness and exchange it for His light. He did that on a cross and confirmed that great exchange by rising from our tomb of darkness—death.
And so, as Paul now continues: “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants (willing slaves) for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Do you know why the Christian Church continues to exist on this earth even though it is attacked on all sides? It is because God, in the person of Christ has given His light, His love, and His eternality—His essence to His beloved Bride. He has given it to you. He has withheld nothing essential for you to be eternally blest and happy. Just as His light cannot be extinguished, so His Church will never cease. And as His children of light, by faith, we therefore have the one commodity that sustains humans no matter the evil they confront—hope! Hope based on the certainty of the light of His love as found in Jesus Christ. Hope based on the forgiveness Christ brings. Hope that never disappoints–even in death.
So today we celebrate this Light! We joyfully leave darkness behind and resolve to continue to “walk in the Light.” And when we do, our lives become open books upon which God writes page after page of uplifting blessings! Amen