A Christian’s Heart 11-27-12
Trouble in the Church
Walking In The Light of God’s Truth
From 1 John:
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7, NIV, 1984 version; all quotes below are from the 1984 NIV translation.)
Ever wonder what it means to walk in God’s light? Here are some Scripture passages that may give us some insight:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12.)
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. (Col 3:5-7. )
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees … (Deut 10:12-13. See also Matt 28:20a.)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:1-2.)
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength … Ps 89:15-17a.)
It seems clear to me that “walking in the light” means first of all that we have repented of our sin and surrendered our eternal future to the LORD Jesus. Then by the power of the Holy Spirit working in, us we put away all the evil stuff we used to do and seek to walk in the ways of the LORD. To continue to grow in this walk, we must proactively seek the light through reading and memorizing God’s word with the intention of obeying it, and we must maintain our relationship with Him through constant prayer. (Eph 6:18a.) We must constantly strive to walk in His ways.
Many think being a Christian is just about going to a church that has the name of Christ somewhere in its title and being involved in church ministries, singing praise songs, doing righteous works. Many people do these things regularly and are not walking in the light at all. There will be many people who’ve done these things all their lives and will not enter the kingdom. As Jesus told us:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt 7:21-23.)
To whomever this happens, it will mean that though he claimed to have accepted Jesus as Lord, his life has not changed at all.
The other day I was reading a book called, How Evil Works (David Kupelian, Threshold Editions, NY. NY, 2010). Kupelian quotes the result of a survey of Christian households that reveals that “only 9 percent of those self-identifying as ‘born-again Christians’ even hold a biblical worldview. … Almost half of ‘born-agains’—45 percent—teach their children there are no absolute values.” (p. 211) Can you imagine! Certainly, these 45 percent are not walking in the light of God’s truth; they cannot possibly because they do not believe in God’s absolute truths.
As John says in the passage quoted above, walking in the light means subjecting oneself to the truth of God’s word so that one’s life is changed by the power of God’s Spirit. But the light of God’s truth burns, because it forces us to examine ourselves, to look deeply into our own souls, to see ourselves as God sees us. I can tell you that this is a painful process. I believe this is what God means when He says: “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? (Jer 23:29.) This fire burns out the sin in our souls; the hammer breaks the rock of our pride into little pieces.
Here’s what David says about the severity of this process:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps 32:3-5.)
If the results of the survey quoted above are true, few born-agains have really experienced this cleansing process and their lives are not changing. The rest are not at all walking in the light as God has commanded. And we have a church filled with sin as a result. (See my blog on the Church at Sardis. )