The believer is to be a light to the world that makes manifest God’s glory.
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:14-16)
That this light is not inherent in us is plain, for before our salvation we were “children of wrath,” and “darkness” (Eph 2:3; 5:8). Nor can the good works that glorify our heavenly Father be the works of the natural man for “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:10).
What, then, is this light that glorifies God? Three verses from the very first chapter of the gospel of John make this clear.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9)
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Many years ago I was doing a home improvement project for a customer and had to use their bathroom to wash my hands. The bathroom had no windows, yet when I entered, it was brightly lit. I didn’t think much about it except to assume that someone had left the light on. When I had finished washing my hands, I flipped the light switch to turn off “the light.” Nothing happened…or so it seemed to me. When I looked more carefully, I saw that something had happened. I had turned on the lights! Yet the light in the room had not increased! And when I turned off the lights again, the room remained brightly lit. I was at first confused. Then I saw the source of the light. The homeowners had installed what is generically called a “solar tube” in this bathroom. A solar tube is a modified skylight which captures natural sunlight then magnifies it to an amazing degree by means of a technology I do not fully understand. The quality and quantity of light this device produces is very impressive.
What does this have to do with the believer’s walk? Well, the light in that bathroom was not “self-generated,” i.e., it was not produced by the electrical wiring of the room. Rather, it was provided by an external source by means of a conduit: the solar tube. And the light produced was far superior than anything its own power source could have produced.
So it is with believers. The “light” we are to shine in the world is not of our own making, our own "doings." Our light comes from a source “outside” of us: Jesus Christ, the Word who was “made flesh” and walked among men, and now lives within every true believer.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:15-18)
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
Further, while we believers are the workmanship of God designed to produce good works (Eph. 2:10), like our spiritual light, the works that glorify God have a source other than our own nature. The “good works” which glorify God are the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit who regenerated each of us into a “new creature” by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
"But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7)
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (1 John 4:13)
"[And] the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
And what is the “conduit” through which the Spirit produces and magnifies the light in the believer’s life that is to manifest the glory of God to the world?
"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalms 119:130)
We are saved by the Word of God.
"…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:22-23)
We are sanctified by the Word of God.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
We are guided and sustained through life by the Word of God.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:2-4)
No wonder the authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Word of God is being attacked today, even by great portions of the professing church! No wonder, then, that the Spirit is so direct in His exhortations to us:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:1-4)
These are perilous times, and there are many false lights in the world today.
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, …Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
And these are deceiving multitudes into trusting in their own religious and humanistic good works to their damnation.
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)
Let me be plain in summary. There is no light of any value but “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). And there are no good works that bring glory to God except the fruits which His indwelling presence produces in the submissive and obedient heart.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)
"I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word." (Psalms 119:15-16)
Know Him. Know His Word.
Love Him. Love His Word.
Serve Him. Study and obey His Word.
Share Him. Share His Word.
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