LIGHT AND JUDGMENT
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Lord Jesus is the Light of the world. We also are to be the light of the world. What does this mean? It means we are to be righteous in character and action. In order to be the light of the world we must understand the difference between right and wrong, embrace the right, and renounce the wrong.
LIGHT AND JUDGMENT
Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. (Isaiah 51:4)
The Lord Jesus is the Light of the world. We also are to be the light of the world. What does this mean? It means we are to be righteous in character and action. In order to be the light of the world we must understand the difference between right and wrong, embrace the right, and renounce the wrong. This is another way of saying light and moral judgment are nearly synonymous if not identical.
When we embrace Christ we are entering Life. That Life includes numerous elements, and especially the eternal moral law of God.
Physical light is part of electromagnetic radiation. The human eye can detect a specific set of wavelengths of the radiation. Physical objects reflect light and our brain tells us where the objects are and something about them. If no physical light is present, we are not aware of the objects unless we hear or touch them.
However, spiritual light, mentioned so many times in the Bible, is altogether different from physical light. We need to think about spiritual light because it is lacking in our world today, particularly in the United States of America. Due to our lack of spiritual light we are becoming increasingly immoral, which, in turn, is increasing the darkness.
Light is one of the first subjects mentioned in the Bible.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3,4)
Notice that the light is separated from the darkness, indicating that originally all was darkness. So it is with us. When we begin in Christ we are darkness. Then Christ is conceived in us, and as He is, the Holy Spirit separates Him from the darkness in us until we can recognize the difference between right and wrong, between righteousness and wickedness. Our whole Christian discipleship is one of separating the light from the darkness, the good from the evil. This is growth to maturity.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
We know the light was not that of the sun, because the sun was not created until the fourth day. We can speculate that the light of the first three days was the Glory of God, so we have light that can be seen plus an allegorical portrayal of redemption.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:23)
Apparently the light of the first three days of creation came from God and the Lamb.
We must learn to think of light in two different ways. As we have stated, the light with which we are familiar shows us where objects are and something about them. The light that gives light to the new Jerusalem must show where things are as well as something about them, just as in the first day of creation. In addition, spiritual light shows us what is good and what is evil.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the Garden of Eden was the tree of moral light.
Thus in the midst of the garden we have what may be the two most important elements, as far as mankind is concerned: Divine eternal Life, and Divine moral light.
The terms truth, law, light, the knowledge of good and evil, wisdom, are nearly synonymous. Christ is truth. Christ is law. Christ is light, Christ is the knowledge of good and evil. Christ is wisdom. Think about it. It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ that we understand what we should be and what we should do. Is this a fact?
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Personification of the two “trees” in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ is Divine eternal Life, and Jesus Christ is Divine moral light.
Light is truth. The Lord Jesus is the Way to the Truth. The Truth is Life and Light. Jesus is all of these.
John the Baptist came as a witness of the Light that was to come into the world.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. (John 1:4-9)
The spiritual darkness of the present world, the wickedness that fills the United States, has no fellowship with the Divine Light. It cannot comprehend it. There can be no compromise. Light must be separated completely from darkness. There can be no fellowship, no understanding between light and darkness. Christ is Light. Satan is darkness. There can be no reconciliation whatever between the two.
In the physical realm, darkness is the absence of the energy of light. Not so in the spirit realm. In the spirit realm, darkness is not merely the absence of Christ, the Light. Darkness is the force of evil, the presence of Satan.
Notice that the Life of Christ is the Light of men. Life is Light. How can this be? It is because the knowledge of good and evil, moral discernment, is not merely a matter of information, it is the Substance of Christ and is to be received into our personality. It is the body and blood of Christ. These are our life and these are our light. The Word, the Light of God, was made flesh. We are to embrace Him until we are of the Light, and thus become the Light of the world
Because of our human frailties we have made the Christian salvation a religion. Religions rely on the books that are written to describe the teachings and practices of the religion.
True salvation, on the other hand, is infinitely more than words in a book. True salvation is the body and blood of Christ which enter us and cause us to see what is true, what is acceptable to God, what is holy, what is righteous. The body and blood of Christ also motivate us to embrace what is true, acceptable to God, holy, righteous, and to renounce all that is of the darkness, of Satan.
There is no other true light in the world. The body and blood of Christ are true food and true drink. By these we are able to overcome the spiritual darkness with which the world is filled.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (John 3:19-21)
When we first receive Christ as our Savior we have a glimmer of understanding of what is true, what is righteous, what is holy, what is joyous. Immediately the forces of darkness conspire to overcome that light.
If we are faithful in praying, reading our Bible, seeking the Lord each day, the light gradually increases. This is our eternal life. Every day the darkness conspires to conquer the light growing in us.
The gate is small and the path is difficult that leads to the fullness of life and light. Those who through Christ are victorious will inherit all that is of God. They shall shine as the stars forever.
Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because he is afraid what he is and does will be made clear. In this we can see the relationship between light and judgment. Light allows us to judge between good and evil. The righteous love the light and run to it so everyone can see that what they do is acceptable to God.
We Christians are to be sons of the light, walking in the knowledge of what is good and what is evil.
But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (I Thessalonians 5:4-6)
The light of God, the ability to choose what is righteous and reject what is wicked, always leads us to joy.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17)
Walking in the light of God’s Person and will produces righteous character and behavior in us. Righteous behavior brings peace to us. Peace brings us joy; and joy is the ultimate goal of God for Himself and for all of His creation.
It is so utterly important to walk in the light of God’s will at all times!
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:5-7)
Notice that God is Light! We know from the Scripture that God is Love. God Himself is these elements.
What does the Scripture mean by “God is light”? We know God is a Person who loves us and knows all about us. But in what manner is He Light?
For one thing, God sees everything. There is no area of the universe in which God cannot distinguish between light and darkness. The ability to see everything, to have perfect, complete sight, is portrayed in the four cherubim. They are covered with eyes. When we are in the full image of Christ we also will be full of eyes, front and back, able at all times and in all circumstances to distinguish between righteousness and wickedness.
Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. (Revelation 4:6)
God is all righteousness, all peace, all joy. God knows what behavior on the part of every one of His creatures will bring the individual to righteousness, to a state of being that is free from dread and unrest; and to total joy. God is absolutely certain of His wisdom concerning our state of being and our behavior. He knows beyond doubt what is in our best interests.
Satan, on the other hand, has his own concepts, his own wisdom, concerning our state of being and our behavior. Satan believes he understands what will bring us righteousness, peace, and joy.
God has given us the history of mankind as a massive object lesson so we might perceive God’s plan for our peace and joy, and Satan’s plan for our peace and joy, and the inevitable consequences of these two plans.
In spite of this object lesson, people remain blind. They are without light. They stumble through life seeking peace and joy and cannot find them.
God and Christ are Light. They open our eyes and we can see what is good and what is evil. We can see also that good brings us peace and joy and evil brings us unrest and misery. God gives us understanding—not just in our mind, as I have stated previously, but in our whole personality as we learn to live by the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
It is the Person of Christ that is Light. God is Light. When God is in us and we are in God we perceive the path of life, the path that will bring us to peace and joy. The wise of this world cannot find the path that leads to peace and joy because sin blinds their eyes. Only in Christ are our eyes opened.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. (Psalms 36:9)
In Christ’s light we see light, we see the path that leads to the perfect day, to the Kingdom of God. The fountain of life is the fountain of light.
Peter tells us that adding godly traits to our behavior opens our eyes.
But if anyone does not have them [godly traits], he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (II Peter 1:9)
Nearsighted and blind. This is darkness.
Isaiah also speaks of righteousness and its results.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:17)
I am not certain we Christians understand how important righteous conduct is to God. By righteous conduct I mean, truthfulness, faithfulness, kindness, generosity, concern for those who are suffering, sincerity, honesty, and all the other behaviors that people everywhere honor; traits of character concerning which our conscience instructs us.
God is righteous and has fellowship with righteous people. God will not have fellowship with wicked people!
- The Muslims emphasize righteousness, but in the name of their religion murder people whose only crime is not believing Allah is the true God.
- The Jews believe in righteousness, but either ignore the Law of Moses or else stress their traditions.
- The Catholics point toward the rituals of their religion in place of righteousness.
- The Protestants talk about righteousness, but claim their “faith” in Christ takes the place of righteous conduct.
In the above instances, religion has destroyed the voice of conscience and common sense. Christ has no part in the substitution of religion for righteous character and behavior.
Christ is the Light of the world. The moral example and teachings of Christ have had a beneficial impact on the countries in which Christianity has been the major religion. The United States is one such country. Because of the moral depravity of our country, one would not believe that Christianity has had much of an influence on the people of the United States. Nevertheless, as a nation we will not tolerate behavior such as the Japanese exhibited when they attacked China some years ago. The American public would not stand for such outrages if perpetrated by American soldiers and the public came to know of it.
There is no doubt that the moral life and teaching of Jesus Christ have profoundly affected history.
But it is not God’s will that Jesus Christ be the only example to which the nations can look for moral guidance. The Church also is to be the light of the world, meaning the members of the Church are to demonstrate in their character and actions the moral Character of God.
The Light of God is the moral Character of His Person. The Lord Jesus Christ reveals in Himself the moral Character of the Father. We have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. This means we are to be changed into the moral image of Christ such that our character and behavior are righteous.
How are we to be thus transformed?
Paul explains, in the Book of Romans how we are to be changed morally.
In his explanation, Paul refers to the “sinful nature.” This term is not used in the Old Testament. The sinful nature comprises spirits that dwell in our flesh and bones, or else “doors” in our personality through which Satan can enter and prompt us to sin.
Let me say at the outset, as I have written elsewhere, that the sinful nature is not a massive force so powerful that it cannot be rendered powerless. Satan has bluffed the churches with the idea that we have to sin while we are living in the world. This concept is unscriptural. It is true that under the Law of Moses we cannot conquer the sinful nature. But under grace we can defeat the sinful nature, because of the authority of the blood of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the forming of Christ in us.
Sometimes people use Paul’s description of his frustration in battling sin, as outlined in the seventh chapter of the Book of Romans, to prove that Christians cannot gain victory over the sinful nature. Paul here is not describing his life as a Christian. Rather he is explaining to the Jews the inability of the Law of Moses to provide victory over sin.
The truth is, under grace we can escape slavery to the sinful nature.
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
While we are under the Law of Moses sin can prevail over us and be our master. But under grace we can choose to be the slave of righteousness and in this manner prevail over the sinful nature.
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:14)
Indeed we do have an obligation. It is to follow the Holy Spirit carefully as He guides us in the ability to understand what is righteous and what is wicked.
Paul shows us, in Romans, Chapter Three through Five, that it is possible to be righteous apart from observing the Law of Moses. He is speaking primarily to believing Jews, evidently.
In Chapter Six, Paul shores up his teaching by declaring that once we are baptized in water we have died to our first personality. We can choose to be the slave of righteousness, and thus avoid spiritual death.
In Chapter Seven, Paul states that because we have died with Christ we are free legally from the Law of Moses. He demonstrates also that the Law of Moses brought sin to our attention but was ineffectual in dealing with the urges to sin that live in our flesh, that is, with the sinful nature resident in the members of our body.
In Chapter Eight, Paul informs us God has gifted us with the righteousness of the Law of Moses, provided we are following the Holy Spirit. We leave the Law of Moses and agree to follow the Spirit of God each day, and God declares us righteous.
In the eighth chapter of Romans, the Holy Spirit is emphasized. We are to live in the Spirit of God. Our body is dead spiritually because of the sinful nature that is resident in it. However, we have righteousness in our inward nature because of the righteousness attributed to it.
Then the answer to Paul’s desperate groaning is set forth: if the Spirit of God is dwelling in us, God finally will make alive our mortal body, thus completing the work of redemption. The making alive of our mortal body signifies that the sinful nature has been removed from it and the body now is immortal.
In the light of this sequence of Divine operations, we see that we are not obligated in any manner to yield to the impulses of our sinful nature.
So what do we do? We keep looking to the Holy Spirit at all times as He brings to light various elements of our sinful nature. As He does, we confess them as sin, turn away from them, denounce and renounce them with all our might. God’s response is to forgive us and to purify us from all unrighteousness.
What is next? We are to continue to deny ourselves, to take up our personal cross, and to follow Christ moment by moment.
If we do what I have mentioned, the fire and life will be removed from those areas of our sinful nature that have been dealt with. The blood of the cross will continue to atone with the areas of our sinful nature that have not been brought to our attention as yet.
As we continue to walk in the light of God’s will, we have fellowship with God and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ continues to purify us from all sin.
What is the result of all this? The result is, we now have fellowship with God, which is the object of the work of redemption. Also, our example turns many to righteousness, and consequently to eternal life.
I think that in our culture we have placed a higher value on the practices of religion than we have on righteous behavior. God’s people are fairly well versed in the elements of their religion. But they are not nearly as skillful in the way of righteousness. When this is the case, the purpose of the religious practices has been thwarted.
The emphasis in Christian teaching today is that we are to make a profession of Christ. It is true rather that God wants us to obey Christ, that is, to hear the moral teachings of Christ and perform them. God cannot have fellowship with unrighteousness no matter how clothed in religious practices. This is a tremendous misunderstanding in America at the present time.
The scepter of Christ’s Kingdom is a scepter of righteousness, not of religious practices no matter how orthodox.
We are missing God in this respect, and judgment is going to fall heavily on our nation as a consequence.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to destroy the work of the devil. The work of the devil is the sinful nature of man. The products of the sinful nature are a sinful character and actions, the physical, mental, and emotional infirmities that always proceed from a sinful character and actions, and finally physical and spiritual death.
We say today that Christ came to forgive the work of the devil. Therefore the Church and the remainder of the creation remain in bondage to wickedness.
God wants us to be lights of the world. In order to be a light of the world we have to grow in the knowledge of what is good and what is evil, and learn to embrace the good and utterly renounce the evil. We must teach the righteous ways of the Lord to God’s people, and to the rest of the world for that matter; and shun the useless proclamations of our Christian traditions, such as the idea that belief in Christ is an alternative to godly behavior.
Therefore, thus says the Lord, “If you return, then I will restore you—before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them. “Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:19,20—NASB)
A Christian who has walked with Christ until he or she is behaving righteously inspires those around him or her to live righteously. This is pleasing to God.
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Proverbs 7:4)
When we belong to Christ we bear fruit to God. What kind of fruit do we bear? We bear the fruit of the moral likeness of Christ. Other people “eat” of this fruit, so to speak, and they partake of Christ and His moral nature.
This is the meaning of the following:
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
We are wise when we live righteously and influence others to live righteously. We are foolish when we yield to our sinful nature and influence others to yield to the sinful nature. When we influence others to live in a sinful manner we invite God’s anger, because His desire is that the world be filled with righteous people.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
Can you see in the above verse that the wise are those who lead many to righteousness? They are blessed of God to such an extent that in the next age they will shine like the stars at night.
This reminds us of another verse:
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18)
Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. (Isaiah 26:2)
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)
I don’t believe there is enough preaching about righteousness, in the United States. We have grace-eternal security-rapture-Heaven announced every Sunday in the pulpits. Such preaching will not turn Americans to righteousness. We are going to pass through moral and physical horrors and suffering because of the lack of righteous behavior, and the fault is that of God’s ministers who are not insisting on righteous behavior. They have made their religious traditions a substitute for righteous character and behavior, and our government and other institutions of our country reveal this lack of moral judgment.
The fault is ours. The enemy is approaching and the watchmen are not warning the people. We will be held responsible if we do not cease placing our traditions ahead of the written Word of God.
There is a cry today for power, for the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians are getting together in parts of America and praying for a downpour of God’s Spirit. I am wholeheartedly in agreement with this effort, and God will answer, I am certain.
However, let me point out something that may be helpful. Let us think for a moment about a court of law. The law is the standard by which acceptable behavior is judged. The judge of the court listens to witnesses describe the actions of the accused person. The judge makes a decision based on the law. The accused either is innocent or guilty in terms of the law. If the accused is innocent, the power that follows the decision of the judge releases the accused from custody. The penal system no longer has the ability to hold him. He is set free by the power that follows judgment. If the accused is found guilty, he is placed in the custody of armed men. At this point the police power of the city takes over.
Can you see the pattern? Before power can act, there first must be a judgment.
So it is today. We want power. We want to see people saved, healed, and filled with God’s Spirit. God wants this also, but more important to God is righteous behavior so He can have fellowship with us.
If God does pour out the power of the Spirit of God, will we use it to turn many to righteousness? Or will we use the power of the Spirit for our personal aggrandizement or the aggrandizement of our denomination? Will we seek to use God’s power to fill our churches with people, and then not labor night and day until they turn from sin and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness?
It comes to me as I am sitting here, now 77 years of age, of something that crossed through my mind in Bible school, 54 years ago. I was praying for revival and that the greater works Christ had promised would be forthcoming.
Then I felt, “No!” I realized that such power would be used to benefit ambitious religious leaders. How I knew this at that time I cannot say. But the thought left its mark in my memory.
I have seen a lot and heard much since those days in Bible School. I still feel the same way. I do not want God to show His power until we are ready to work with God at the task of bringing people to righteous behavior.
It is my belief, as I have written on several occasions, that the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation are a symbolic picture of the harvest rain of the Spirit, the great end-time revival. They are clothed in sackcloth, a rough cloth used as a symbol of mourning or penitence.
Those who bear the unprecedented power of the last-day witness will not be the fancy ministers of our day in their expensive suits driving their expensive cars. Rather they will be humble, ordinary people, walking in an attitude of repentance before the Lord.
Why do we suppose the two witnesses represent two bearded patriarchs from the Old Testament? Probably because we think of them as being more godly than we are today. We may believe they are worthy to bear the power of judgment but we are not because we are so frivolous. Imagine! It is taught that two men from a lesser covenant, from the Law of Moses perhaps, are to come and bear a witness that believers who supposedly are filled with Christ are too weak to present!
The Book of Acts declares that God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him. Sometimes it is necessary that a multitude of people pray over a number of years if God is to pour our His Spirit. On other occasions God has listened to the intercession of one or two people and responded with an outpouring of great power.
But what is needed more than such concerted effort in prayer (in which I believe!) is for us to begin to obey God sternly and accurately. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
I think God is looking for people today who will listen to Jesus, and keep on listening until they know what He is saying. Then they must do exactly what the Lord tells them to do.
I have been attempting to listen to Jesus and do what He says, regardless of my opinion in the matter. I believe Jesus is impressing on me that He wants the Christians to behave righteously. We have been led astray by our traditions about grace. We need to read the rest of the New Testament and find out how we are supposed to be living the Christian life.
I believe an unprecedented outpouring is on the way. But out of this revival, or perhaps before this revival, there must come a change in our doctrine. The leading Christian ministers of our country are misinterpreting the Bible. They are negating every warning in the New Testament concerning sinful behavior, claiming such warnings do not apply to us because our judgment was completed on the cross of Christ.
What they apparently do not understand is that while the atonement for sin was made on the cross, we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Why fear and trembling? Lest we be deceived by Satan and end up being removed from God’s purposes. To say that such a thing cannot happen because we are “saved by grace” is to ignore the clear warnings of the New Testament.
The result of the current teaching is believers who know little or nothing of the righteous ways of the Lord. The Christians in some instances understand less about righteousness than does the man on the street, whose common sense has not been warped by our teaching; whose conscience teaches him right and wrong; whose intuitive feeling about God informs him that God is righteous and honors righteousness; whose judgment warns him that the TV evangelist with his appeals for money is little more than a scam artist and does not represent the God of Heaven.
We have titled this brief essay “Light and Judgment”. Why is this? The Light of God, of Christ, of the new Jerusalem, is the moral Character and law of God. It is the righteous way of the Lord.
To let our light shine is to practice good works.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (I Peter 2:12)
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
We may desire an unscriptural “rapture” so we can escape from trouble. What God wants is people who will “make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” God wants us to be the moral light of the world.
When we abide in Christ we bear fruit. The fruit we bear is the moral image of Jesus Christ. When we do not, after a season, reveal in ourselves the moral behavior of Christ, we are removed from the Vine. Then the men of the world gather us in bundles and we are burned, because we did not serve our generation as we should have.
We may find in the future that the terrorists will be successful in killing a significant part of the population of the United States. If this occurs, it will be because we have failed to provide them (the terrorists) with a moral light by which they could have found God. Of course, they will not realize they are being motivated by our failure to bring the light of God to the world. It is the Lord God Himself who will avenge the terrorists because we failed to show them Christ through our behavior.
Light is moral judgment. Moral judgment is light.
When we walk into a room and there is no light whatever we are apt to hurt ourselves by stumbling over a chair or coffee table. As soon as there is light we are able to judge where the dangers are and know how to walk through the room without being injured. Light enables judgment.
The same is true in the realm of moral behavior. The world is in darkness today. Every type of calamity that can occur is taking place. People are murdering each other. Little children are molested. Young people are ruining their health with cigarettes, drugs, and sexual perversion. The entertainment industry is as a giant sewer pipe dispensing thousands of gallons of raw sewage each day, and many if not most American people are drinking it.
Why? Because the churches are occupied with religion instead of righteous character and behavior. The churches themselves have little light.
Morally the churches, and as a result the world, are as blind people walking through an area filled with every kind of danger. They cannot tell what is safe and what is dangerous; what will bring peace and joy and what will bring misery.
The light they need is moral understanding, in other words, the eternal moral law of God. The law of God has been made flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we press close to Christ and listen to Him, He teaches us to distinguish between right and wrong, between that which is beneficial and that which is harmful. As we obey Him our eyes are opened. Righteousness always provides sight.
Now we can see where we are stepping. Light has come. Divine judgment has come. We are wise. We are behaving in a righteous manner.
The result is we have fellowship with God. Also, the people around us are enlightened. Those who choose to do the right thing are guided and strengthened, which pleases God.
Let us say several believers are gossiping about someone in the church. They invite us to join in the discussion. We tell them politely but firmly that this is a wrong thing to do and the Lord is not pleased with it.
If they will listen, and cease gossiping, we will have saved souls from death. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.
However, if we join in the gossip, Satan also joins in. The sinful nature springs into life. Spiritual darkness increases. All of us are harmed including the subject of our gossip. This is loss for Christ, and angers God.
“But,” we may protest, “I am saved by grace, so how can I anger God by my behavior?”
Let me exhort you that you not only will anger God with your gossip, and with your failure to discourage others from gossiping, but you are in clear danger of not inheriting the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul advised us that those believers who continue in the works of the sinful nature will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The reason for this is, there are no works of the sinful nature permitted in the Kingdom of God.
We understand, therefore, that our traditions have drifted far from the Gospel of the Kingdom of God preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles. We have substituted religious beliefs and practices for righteous behavior. Our churches are ignorant of God’s standards of righteousness. The unsaved reflect the ignorance of the believers. Our government and the major business corporations reflect the lack of moral standards in the general populace. The result is a sinful nation from which God will lift His hand of protection.
I have been preaching for years, long before the terrorist attacks, that God is going to grant revival to America, and that it will be during a time of great trouble. Today this impression is more real to me than ever before.
I think the Lord is telling us it is time to draw as close to the Lord Jesus as we can, and to learn righteous behavior from Him. If we do this, we will save ourselves and our loved ones.
But if we do not, choosing instead to continue in the current delusions, in the typical American casual approach to salvation, then we will be treated as any other person of the world and will be swept away by the terrible events of the future.
What I have just stated is a cycle that has been repeated throughout history, but nations never seem to profit from history. When a nation becomes decadent, as currently is true in our country, it is not long before destruction follows.
Each believer who will set himself the task of turning to God in sincere repentance and devotion will save himself and those who trust in him, as God protected Jeremiah when Babylon invaded Jerusalem. Also, God may be pleased to grant some relief and protection to our country. Let each one of us do what we can to help. Let each one of us act like and be sons of the light.
(“Light and Judgment”, 3267-1)