Darkness To Light

(Acts 26:9-23)

Have you ever been in a place that was totally dark? I'm not talking about a moonless night but somewhere that was so pitch dark that you could not tell any difference whether your eyes were open or closed. Perhaps in a deep cave or a deep mine underground with the lights extinguished? If not have you ever got out of bed in the middle of the night and blundered about the house in the dark?

Light in the darkness
Light in the darkness

What did it feel like to you? You stumble about not knowing where you are going, unable to see anything that might be in your way and not able to see dangers ahead in the form of things that may trip you over.

But as soon as there is the tiniest point of light, a lit match, an LED, a small torch or whatever, it immediately grabs your attention and becomes the focal point to which you are drawn.

It is the same with Jesus Christ. And here we see Paul speak about the work he was doing for The Lord in turning the people from darkness to light.

Darkness and Light

There is much written in the bible about darkness and the way it is displaced by the light. If we go right back to the very beginning we see The Lord spoke on the very first days of existence and said in Genesis 1:1-5,

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Now there are a couple of things to note about these first few verses of Genesis chapter 1.

Firstly, prior to these words being spoken there was nothing but darkness across the face of the earth. Nothing had yet been created and this was the very dawn of time, the dawn of all things as we know them.

Note that the first thing created in the creation then was…Light. But this was not light like the light of the sun, moon or stars. Nor was the darkness like the absence of illumination. For we see that The Lord after creating the light said, “And God saw that the light was good.”

God did not proclaim the darkness as being “good” but went to the trouble to specifically say that the “light” was good. And God also separated the light from the darkness. They could not be mixed together or even exist together but were separate from each other.

Ow I mentioned that this light and darkness was not like the light from sun, moon or stars, nor was the absence of these forms of light the darkness as we know it. We know that the Light created on the first day of the creation is different because we see in verses 14-19 that the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day of the creation.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

What is Light?

So this begs the question, what is the “Light” and the darkness that was created on the first day of the creation?

I believe the answer lies partly in the words that show the “Light” was good but the darkness was not even mentioned.

The light is all that is good: righteousness, goodness, truth, faith, hope, love and so on. And the darkness is then the opposite of all that is good: evil, lies, wrongdoing, malice, hatred, pride, arrogance and so on. These two polar opposites are I believe what The Lord was talking about on the first day of the creation. It was at that time in the very beginning that God established the difference between right and wrong, good and evil and He separated these two from one another and would accept no compromise between them.

There were no grey lines, no overlaps and no shadows that existed between these two poles. There was no continuum that progressed along degrees of right and wrong, good and evil between these two. Instead God made a judgement and said in effect, “The light is good!”

The human proposition of things like yin and yang where they say in everything good there is some evil and in everything evil there is some good is totally opposite to the principle God established on Day 1. He said things are either right or wrong, good or evil and there is no in-between position.

Consider some of the scriptures in the Bible. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 12:33-35,

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

So again we see this all or nothing position between good and evil being taught. And again in Revelation 3:14-16,

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. 15 “'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

This church was trying to be somewhere in between good and evil. They were neither cold nor hot but were lukewarm. And what did The Lord think of that position? He hated it so much He spat them out. And in verse 15 we see He says that He wished they were either cold or hot. He didn't care which they were because if they were hot they were doing well and if they were cold they could be taught. But because they were cold and yet thought they were hot they were full of pride and arrogance and so were lukewarm. Not able to be taught for their pride and thus totally useless to The Lord.

Paul's Defence

So when we come back to the words of Paul as he stood before Festus the governor and King Agrippa we see him too using this terminology of light and darkness to express good and evil. In Acts 26:22-23 he says,

22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Paul's mission as he describes it here in verses 16-18 was to proclaim the truth that Christ would be the light to both Jews and Gentiles. And the light of The Lord would be the salvation of all peoples who choose to accept His teachings and come to God.

16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles-to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

And again in this section we see that when The Lord spoke to Paul he says that Paul was being sent to open the eyes of the people to turn them from…”…darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.” Is there any clearer indication than this that when God said, “Let there be light,” that He was talking about good and evil being akin to darkness and light?

Going back to my analogy at the start of this post, if you wander around your house in the night in the dark you will bump into things, stub your toe and maybe trip over and fall. But when you turn the light on you can see clearly to avoid the obstacles that might get in your way and cause you grief, pain or even broken bones.

It is the same in Christ. When our eyes are opened to the light of the knowledge of truth, we too c an leave the darkness behind so that we do not fall, trip or suffer spiritually. When The Lord opens the word of truth in our lives we see clearly and understand good from evil, right from wrong and can steer a course in our lives to move away from the obstacles that would cause us grief.

The light is good and it is valuable and useful for us to come to the light. Seek the light for The Lord will open your eyes to what is right and He has promised that if we seek we will find, if we ask it will be given and if we knock it will be opened. And then the light of knowledge will be turned on to blot out the darkness.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng provided by Ned Horton of Horton Web Design www.HortonGroup.com)

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