By Russell DeLong
The first utterance attributed to God is recorded in the story of creation -- "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. . . . And God said, Let there be light." It is significant that God's first words concerning man and this planet had to do with light.
There are various kinds of light -- physical, natural, intellectual, moral, and spiritual.
Frequently reference is made to physical darkness or intellectual darkness or moral darkness or spiritual darkness. Light is its antithesis, conqueror, and dispeller, irrespective of the field.
The sun is the center and source of all physical and natural light. As long as there is nothing between us and the sun, we have day. Night and darkness come only as our planet revolves so that part of its inhabitants are shut off from the sun by part of the earth. It is good to remember that the sun is always shining somewhere and that there are always people in the light. It is always day someplace. It is only night when we are shut off from the sun.
But even in the daytime one who faces the sun is never in shadows. It is always true that
one has to turn his back to the sun before he can see his own shadow. As one walks away, the shadow lengthens and soon blends into darkness and night.
The caption of this sermon is so gloriously true, "He who walks toward the sun never
travels in shadows." Dark grays and inky blackness come only as one turns his back to the light.
As we now leave the natural realm and step into the moral and spiritual realms, it is
significant that Jesus is called the Light. He is referred to repeatedly as the Sun of Righteousness. He is the center and home of truth, goodness, beauty, and righteousness. Out from His person radiate moral and spiritual light. Without Him all is darkness. St. John, also referring to creation, declared:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:1-9).
It is also of great significance that only a few verses later St. John declares, "But as many
as received him [the Light], to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12).
A dozen verses later St. John describes the arrival of Jesus to be baptized by crying out,
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
The third chapter of John's Gospel describes the necessity of the new birth as preached by
Jesus to Nicodemus. The apex of the sermon is reached when the Master declares, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
This story becomes the context and background for John 3:16, "The Little Gospel in One
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Sin is spiritual death and darkness. Christ is Life and Light. He is the Sun radiating
spiritual truth and dispelling moral darkness.
To accept Him is to walk in the light. St. John in his First Epistle says, "If we walk in the
light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
The Psalmist cried out, "The Lord is my light and my salvation (Ps. 27:1).
Jesus proclaimed: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in
darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
Much is said in the Bible about spiritual darkness. It is always connected with sin. The
reference is made to people that "sit in darkness" (Ps. 107: 10). Isaiah said, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isa. 9: 2).
The future abode of sinners is described by Jesus as the place of outer darkness. But
heaven is pictured as a city where no night cometh, "for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof" (Rev. 21:23).
Eternal night, "outer darkness," is the penalty for sinful disregard of the Light here.
Face the light, walk in the light, accept the Light, and you will never travel in shadows here nor live in "outer darkness" hereafter.
But if you deliberately turn your back to the Light and willfully walk away from the Sun
(Son) of God, the shadows will lengthen, the gloom of night will surround you as a pall, and this condition of apostasy will soon black out into eternal light.