“The people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:16 ESV
Who are the people dwelling (living, walking) in darkness? They are all who have refused the Light – Jesus Christ, the truth, righteousness, and the gospel of Christ – the way to salvation from sin and eternal life with God.
They are those who are still walking (living) in sin, in sinful addiction, in slavery to what their flesh desires. They can even be those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and who call themselves Christians, but who have continued on a sinful course, because they refused to come into the true Light.
But, it isn’t that the Light has not been shown to them. God said that all of us are without excuse, because he has revealed himself to all mankind through his created works. He said that it isn’t that humans don’t know about God or his divine character and will, but that they suppress the truth, i.e. they put it out, they snuff it out, they censor it (Rom. 1:18-32).
So, although the Light has been shown to them, they block it out, they hinder it, prevent it, and exclude it. They refuse to let it inside them, and they remain blinded to the truth. They willfully choose ignorance over truth because they want to remain in the darkness, for it is there they can continue in their sinful practices without guilt.
But, the darkness can have the appearance of light, and so many people follow after it, for they are deceived into believing that they can have their “light” while continuing in their darkness. But, that is a lie straight from hell.
The Shadow of Death
So, what is this darkness that has the appearance of light which is deceiving the minds and hearts of so many people? I believe it is the cheap grace gospel. For, it has elements of truth to it, and it even quotes scripture verses, though often out of context and thus misinterpreted. But, it is a mixture of truth and lies, and therefore it is a lie disguised as truth.
This cheap grace gospel is on the forefront, at least here in America, for it is what the vast majority of professers of faith in Jesus Christ are following these days. But, it is standing between human beings and the Light. It is blocking the light from entering into people’s hearts, and it is suppressing the truth by its unrighteousness. It is standing opposed to the truth, too, and it is ignoring the truth (the light). So, it is sending people to hell while promising them heaven, and it is cursing them to die without Christ.
This cheap grace gospel, which is a mixture of light and darkness, is where sin and death reign, the dwelling place of the dead. It is a vehicle (means) of death, not of life; of darkness, not of light. For, it has forsaken the right way, the way of the cross of Christ, to follow after the way of the flesh, and not of the Spirit. It disregards (blocks) truth while it promotes lies.
It isn’t that the true light is gone, though. It will never be gone. It is that it has been blocked and prevented by this cheap grace gospel so that people are not seeing the light for what it is. What they are seeing is a cheapened version of the light which is no light at all. What they are seeing are lies and deception cleverly disguised as truth, and so people are buying into this by the thousands, and perhaps by the millions.
The Cheap Grace
So, how is it blocking (suppressing, snuffing out) the true light? It is doing so in two distinct ways:
1. It is proclaiming that faith in Jesus Christ is nothing more than repeating some words or making some acknowledgment of Christ, but that the “believer” does not have to repent of (turn away from) sin, they don’t have to walk in obedience to Christ, and they don’t have to surrender their lives over to the Lordship of Christ.
2. It is proclaiming that those who are teaching the gospel, as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it, that they are teaching works-based salvation. And, so they train their adherents to block out the truth, to refuse it, to disregard it, and to believe that it is the false gospel while they push the cheap grace as the true gospel.
So, what they basically do is to promote sin while they refuse righteousness. They give their adherents carte blanche to continue in their sinful practices while promising them heaven when they die.
And, so the “believers” in Jesus are not believing in the true Jesus (the true light) but a false Jesus (a false light) which coddles them in their sin. And, so they remain dead in their sins, without hope, while holding on to a false hope which is a BIG LIE. And, they will fight hard to hold on to the lie, and they will fight hard against the truth, too, and literally will just ignore all the scriptures which tell them otherwise.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 ESV
Jesus’ message, nonetheless, right from the very onset of his ministry was a message of repentance, and not just a change of mind, but a change of mind away from sin to walks of obedience to our Lord.
He never taught a cheap grace gospel. He always taught leaving our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, he taught this as absolutely necessary if we want to be in relationship with him and with God the Father, and if we want to have eternal life with him (See: Lu. 9:23-26; Jn. 8:51; Jn. 14:23-24; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30).
And, his NT apostles taught the same thing. They taught that for us to be in Christ, by God-given faith in him, and for us to have eternal life with God, that we not only had to believe in Jesus Christ, but that we had to die with Christ to sin and live with Christ to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
We have to walk (in practice, in habit, in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and we have to not walk (live, in practice) according to our flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 6:16; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jas. 1:21-25).
John 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
So, how do we do this? How do we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh? We can only do so in the power of God living within those of us who truly believe on him to be Lord and Savior of our lives.
For, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us of our sins and to free us from the punishment of sin, and to give us the promise of eternal life with God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died to set us FREE from our slavery (addiction) to sin and to empower us to live righteously in holiness and godliness, pleasing to God (Eph. 4:17-24).
So, in his power and strength we can say “NO!” to the flesh and “YES!” to the Spirit, moment by moment, and day by day. In fact, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to do that exactly (Tit. 2:11-14).
So, in the power of God, we can follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, and then we will not walk (live in, abide in) darkness. The one cancels out the other, for we can’t do both at the same time. But, walking in the light is not just following a set of rules, although there are rules to follow. But, it is a chosen lifestyle, and it is an intimate relationship with God Almighty. And, it is following the truth as opposed to ignoring the truth.
So, if we are going to follow after the truth, and not after the lies, then we have to know the truth. And, we know the truth by studying God’s Word, particularly in the New Testament, book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse, IN CONTEXT. For, too many false doctrines are formed by taking scriptures out of context.
So, don’t ignore the scriptures you don’t want to hear. Listen to what the Lord is saying. Study his Word. Know what it teaches. And, then follow the light, and you won’t walk in darkness, and you will have eternal life with God.
Mighty in Power
An Original Work / June 17, 2019
Jesus, our Savior, reigneth forever;
Mighty in power, His name we honor.
He’s our refuge from all evil.
God our righteous, He’s our fill.
He satisfies us with all His blessings.
We magnify Him. Our praise to Him sing.
Glory and honor, praise to the Father,
Perfect in wisdom, He is our vision.
He delivered us from all sin
So, in Christ, we’d be forgiven.
He purifies us. His love will guide us.
He is beside us, holy and righteous.
Our Holy Spirit, comfort in sorrow,
Strength in our weakness, hope for tomorrow.
He gives courage to be bold in
Witnessing for Jesus Christ.
He teaches all things about our Savior.
New life in Jesus, we found His favor.