The Sonshine by Walter Olsen
December 1, 2018
Beautiful lights and Christmas seem to go together. We hardly have one without the other. There is something beautiful about lights. For one thing, they illuminate the darkness. In some cases, they show us the way to our desired destination. We put lights on trees, tables, in windows, and on innumerable other things.
So, Christmas seems to be linked with the idea of lights. But there is a greater Light than that which we see with our physical eyes. Yes, it is a much greater Light! It is the Light of Jesus Christ. John said, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (Jn. 1:4-5). Jesus also said, “…I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12).
The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the ways in which Jesus Christ is a Light to the world in which we live.
He is the light which reveals the reality of sin. Sin came into the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Ever since, the world has been under its terrible influence. It reeks havoc on every life, for the Bible says, “…there is none righteous, no, not one: there in none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12). Thus it is concluded, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
This truth is very important because it is so easy to assume that somehow we are the exception, that we are without sin and so without the need of a Savior. If not that we are lost sinners, it is at least that we are not as bad as most others. Thus, we are deceived by our own thinking that we are good enough to make it to heaven on our own.
Sin must be seen for the reality it is. It is in total and complete opposition to God. This is true as to its character and also its intent.
It is encumbered with death. Sin, if not confessed and forgiven, leads to eventual death. James clarified this when he said, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:13-15).
When Jesus was born of the virgin, Mary, He revealed by His life and word, the reality of sin and its consequences. No one is excepted.
He is the Light which reveals the holiness of God. True, believers should also reveal something of the holiness of God, but they do so only in part. Everything we believe depends upon the holiness of God. If He were not holy, we would have no hope for the future. John refers to His holiness when he says, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, He that is true…” (Rev. 3:7).
Jesus revealed perfectly the holiness of God because He Himself is God. The Bible is clear, “For He [God the Father] hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). Thus, Jesus was not just another man. He was the God man, the man Christ Jesus.
Much of the problem in the world today is that they do not know who Jesus Christ is. As John said of Jesus, “There standeth One among you whom ye know not” (Jn. 1:36). Because they do not know who Jesus is, they know nothing of what it is to be truly righteous. The standards of the world are the result of man’s opinion and the accumulation of his own fleshly desires. When Jesus came, He revealed to the world true holiness, that is, total and complete separation from any and all sin.
Jesus also revealed the necessity of man to be holy in his standing before God. This is not an earned holiness, but an imparted holiness. The record is, “For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). Of course, we are not perfect in our walk before Him, but we are perfect in our standing before Him because our standing is in the Person of Jesus Christ. That is indeed blessed news.
He is the Light which reveals the glory of God. The glory of God is a revelation of who God really is. The glory of God is a reflection of His character, of His perfections, of the fullness of his holiness, and of all of His perfect attributes. His glory cannot really be defined because it is so wonderful, so infinite. We can talk about it, but we can never fully comprehend it.
Something of the glory of God is revealed in the created world about us. Paul reminds us, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). The created world bears witness of a Designer with unlimited wisdom, intelligence, and possibilities.
The problem, though, is the following, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Rom. 1:21-23). Indeed, man left to himself always perverts the truth and glory of God.
Still, Jesus reveals the glory of God. When we by faith see Him, we see or know something of the Father. Had Jesus not been born, God would not be less glorious, but we as believers would never be able to see the glory of the Father.
Think of it, Heaven will be a glorious place because God is there! Wherever He is, there is glory. Do we fail to see more of His glory because we fail to make Him the preeminent One in our lives?
He is the Light which reveals the love of God. Without the reality of the love of God, this world would be a hopeless place. There would ne no comfort concerning ether the present or the future. But, thankfully, Jesus Christ reveals the reality of the love of God. The love of God is revealed in many different ways.
God’s love is revealed in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). This verse can only be understood in the light of what it means, not only to have everlasting life, but to be spared from perishing! To perish without God is the worst of all possible conditions. Consider, where God is, there is light, love, protection, and everlasting blessings. Where God’s love is absent, there is suffering, eternal loss, and no hope!
God’s love was given when we were undeserving. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). No one, on the basis of who they are, deserves the love of God. The record is clear, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:11-12). If God did not reveal His love to us as sinners, no one could be saved!
No wonder the birth of Christ was such a joyful occasion! We today can rejoice in the message the angel gave to the shepherds, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
There is a challenge, though. The joy of His birth is not just an intellectual acknowledgment that we agree with. It is a response of the heart or there is no reality to it. Many people have an intellectual belief in God but no saving faith in His Son.
He is the Light which reveals the will of God. This is especially true for believers. Jesus revealed what total obedience to the Father is. When He faced the cross, He said, “…Oh My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).
When Peter cut off the servant’s ear, Jesus rebuked him, “…Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (Jn. 18:11). Emphasis mine
When speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as My Father has taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him” (Jn. 8:28-29). Emphasis mine.
Should not the one who would walk with God have something of the same mind and heart, “I do always those things that please Him”?
He is the Light which reveals victory over death. Had it not been for the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead, no man could know victory over death. The Bible states clearly, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep [have died] in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:17-19). Earthly life, apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, would come to a miserable end.
The wonderful news, though, is, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept [died]” (I Cor. 15:20). Because of our identification with Him in His death and resurrection, we too shall enjoy the newness of eternal life. Paul’s word is, “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5).
We should note that our identification with Him in His death takes place as we come to Him in faith. When we come to Him admitting our sinful self and trusting His work on the cross on our behalf, we are then baptized into His death and become one with Him in His death and resurrection. It is a heart response to the One who loved us and died for us in our place. Paul makes it clear when he says, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you” (Rom. 6:17). Emphasis mine. The point is, there is no Christianity, no spiritual life, apart from a heart response to God. Consider, where there is no heart response to God, there is no change of life. There is no real interest in God and the truth of His word. There is no seeking God for oneself.
We all face death, that is, the death of the body. The good news is that Jesus Christ died in our place and so we can face death with the confidence that we are identified with Him in His death and resurrection. Because He was victorious over death, so shall we be because of our being one with Him!
He is the Light which reveals encouragement in a sinful, broken world. No matter where we look today, we see the evidence of a world without real hope. The world can offer nothing of a satisfying, eternal hope. We often hear talk of a better tomorrow, which sounds good. Sometimes things can be a bit better for a time but, if the offer is without God, it comes to a dismal failure. Sin has corrupted every man and woman and has left the stamp of death on all.
Still, there is good news! It is news that brings great encouragement and hope to all who come to the Savior. This world is not all there is for the believer! Consider some of the encouragement and hope believers have from God’s word:
The hope of the Lord’s return in the air for all believers. This promise is revealed in several portions of the Bible, but especially is it discussed in I Corinthians 15:51-57 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. I know many churches do not teach this truth any more, but it is a very major part of the teaching of God’s word. To ignore this truth is to ignore a major part of the believers’s hope.
The hope of a resurrected, glorified body. In speaking of believers who have died, the Bible says of their bodies, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:42-44).
Further, Paul says “…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immorality” (I Cor. 15:52-53).
Then, “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body…” (Phil. 3:20-21).
There are so many other blessings the Lord brings into the lives of those who know Him as Savior as a result of His birth into our world. Should we not think on these things and thank Him for such grace and mercy? Where would we be without His birth so many years ago!? Consider, so many of the lights of the world lead to disillusionment and death. The Light of Jesus Christ is an eternal light which shall never dim! His light is a holy light which leads only to eternal glory.
It is not enough to mentally consent to the light of Jesus Christ, to admit its reality. One must respond to the Light by coming to Him in faith for the forgiveness of one’s sin. It is then that the Light becomes our Light.
In our church, First Baptist of Woodville, we were privileged to have with us for several days Jeff and Anna Musgrave from Denver, CO. They present a ministry concerning how the believer can be a witness to others concerning his faith. It is called The Exchange. When one comes to Christ in faith, his old life is exchanged for the life of Christ. It highlights the truth Paul spoke when he said, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). It was an excellent presentation that we trust will bear fruit in the lives of all who were able to attend.
BJ has been struggling with her knee problems, but is “looking forward” to having knee replacement surgery on Monday, December 10th. Hopefully the surgery will eliminate much of the pain of recent months.
We always enjoy the season of Thanksgiving. On Tuesday evening, November 20th, we had a praise and pie fellowship at church. Again this year we were blessed to enjoy the day with my sister, Dorothy, and her husband Harley, near Barron. Several other family members were in attendance also.
“For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ” (II Cor. 2:15). We need to form habits to express what God’s grace has done for us. Do I manifest the essential sweetness of the Son of God, or the essential irritation of “myself” apart from Him? Oswald Chambers
“In everything give thanks: for his is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18).
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