Isaiah 9:2 NASB
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
What is darkness? It is absence of light. It is evil, wickedness, sin, lies. And, who are those who walk in darkness today? According to scripture, they are those who make sin their practice, their lifestyle, and their usual course of how they live their lives with regard to their hearts, conduct, thinking and attitudes. (Matt. 7:23; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:8-10; Eph. 4:17-24).
Also, according to scripture, those who walk (practice, live) in darkness do not have the light of life within them. They don’t have eternal life with God nor do they have the hope of salvation from sin and heaven as their eternal destiny (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, then, what is light? First of all, it is Jesus Christ (John 1). It is also righteousness, truth, revelation from God, purity and holiness, and it is our salvation from sin, i.e. it is the gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.
So, how do the people who walk in darkness see this great light? Well, for one they see God and his invisible attributes and his divine nature through his created works (Rom. 1). So, it isn’t that those walking in darkness don’t see the truth, but it is that they suppress the truth which has been revealed to them. Instead of accepting the truth, they exchange the truth of God for a lie, and they worship and serve the creature rather than the creator.
How else might they see this light? They can see the light through the written word of God, the Bible (Genesis-Revelation). And, they can have the light taught to them by Bible teachers, preachers, lay people, believers in Jesus Christ, Christian bloggers, Christian-based music, Christian-based films, and Christian-based books, etc. But, there is a caution here to make certain it is the light according to the written Word of God.
Isaiah 9:4 NASB
For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.
Jesus, the Light, the Messiah, the Christ is the ‘You’ here. And, the yoke of the burden of those who are walking in darkness is the yoke and the burden of their sin. They are bearing the responsibility (the weight) of their sin in their hearts and lives, the bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin, and they are under the control of Satan and sin (their oppressor). And, this separates them from Almighty God (Rom. 3:23).
So, Jesus Christ came to the earth, was born as a baby, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and he grew to become a man (fully God and fully human). He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, performed many miracles, and he comforted the sorrowful. As well, he preached repentance for forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
He was loved by some, but he was hated and rejected by the majority. And, the religious leaders in the temple hated him so much for what he stood for, for claiming to be God, for what he preached and for what he did, that they had him put to death on a cross.
But, this was God’s will that he should suffer in this way, and that he should be put to death on a cross. For, he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). So, when he died our sins died with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose from the grave victorious over sin, death, hell and Satan.
The whole reason that Jesus died on that cross, though, was that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died, not just to forgive us our sins, but that he might deliver us out of our bondage (slavery) to sin. So, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). In other words, He is our chain breaker. Amen!
And, then we must no longer walk according to the flesh, in the darkness, for Jesus delivered us from that darkness, and from our oppressor, and from the sin which was the burden we carried. But, we must now walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit if we want to see the light of life. But, we don’t do this in our own flesh. We do so in the power of God’s Spirit at work in our hearts as we yield control of our lives over to Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
For, you see, Jesus took our sin on himself, and he put it to death on that cross, so that he could put sin to death in our lives, and so we could walk with him in his strength and power in his holiness and righteousness. And, the peace we now have is not the kind the world gives, but it is peace with God. Through faith in Jesus we can now live in victory over sin, and we can live lives which are holy and pleasing to God, as we yield to his Lordship.
Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and to give us the hope of heaven when we die. He died on that cross to put sin to death in our lives so that we would walk with him in his holiness, growing in him daily, yielding to him, doing his will, and obeying his commands. And, he gives us everything we need to do this, too, for he strengthens, empowers, counsels, guides, and instructs us in the way we should go.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Jesus’ soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).
So, just know that if we are truly in Jesus Christ, by faith in him, and we are walking in the light, then we will not walk in the darkness. We can’t do both at the same time. One will overcome the other.
I saw a good illustration of this a week ago. My husband and I were watching a preacher on TV from California who we like to listen to. His name is Shane Idleman. And, he was illustrating for us what this is like when we are following Jesus and we are walking in the light, and how we will then not walk in the darkness.
He had a large pitcher of ping-pong balls. And, then he began to pour water into this pitcher, the water thus illustrating the Holy Spirit. And, as the water began to rise and fill up the pitcher, representing our lives, the ping-pong balls, illustrating our sins, began to fall out, for the water pushed them out.
Thus, when we are following Jesus, and we are walking in the light, we are filling our hearts and lives with the Holy Spirit as we yield to Jesus Christ, and then the sins we once practiced have no more room to grow and to take over. So, walk in the light, and you won’t fulfill the passions of your flesh.
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
*copyright status is public domain
Tuesday, December 25, 2018