Monday, May 8, 2017

Light in the darkness ................ Parables 585


This winter’s ice storms in rural Quebec kept thousands in the dark for weeks, even months. After intense effort to restore power, failures again plunged them into darkness. Even after repairs were completed at the main substation at Ste-Cesaire, many local lines remained down leaving people without light.

Power failures are distressing. Blackouts can be dangerous. However, another state of being without light has eternal consequences. The Bible defines the inability to grasp truth about God as spiritual darkness.

Some are in the dark about God’s existence. While they may see beauty in creation and other evidences of goodness, tragedies such as ice storms provoke the conclusion that a good God would never allow that, therefore God does not exist.

Others are in the dark about the way God works. They may observe answered prayer, healing or other unusual events but cannot see God’s hand in these. Part of the reason is that the Bible tells us God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are beyond our understanding. While God knows clearly both past and future, we see history dimly and view the present through our own prejudices. Also, His ways are beyond us. He rules sovereignly yet allows evil and tragedy. We simply cannot understand Him or what He is doing.

Besides our lack of capacity, a deep spiritual darkness inhibits comprehension of spiritual realities. The Bible says sin muddies our understanding. God created us to reflect His image but sin darkens our vision and we cannot see Him clearly.

However, God does not want us in the dark about Him. He revealed what He is like and offers us understand of what He is doing. For us to receive those revelations and that understanding, we must again become image-bearers. This will happen when God forgives and cleanses our sins, when we believe and receive Jesus and are spiritually reborn into His family.

Jesus described how this works. First, He said no one can see or enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3). Rather than react negatively to the words “born again,” consider what Jesus said — we cannot get into His realm or even see it, without this special change in our lives. This is very important.

Second, He said we need to hear and believe the good news: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

When we believe, the Spirit of God does an amazing thing—He makes us new creatures and places us in a new family, in intimate relationship with God and with Jesus Christ, and with eyes opened to spiritual truth. The New Testament offers this description of those whom God has changed: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Jesus described Himself: “I am the light of the world.” Then He added, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” As forgiven people in relationship with God, we can see Him. We are no longer unaware and in the dark.

Refusing His offer is something like telling Hydro Quebec not to bother hooking up the lines. It is like saying life in the dark, without power or light, is better than living with the lights turned on.

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