Walking in the Light of what you know
We’ve been talking about pursuing relational knowledge of Jesus… and the purpose of this pursuit, other than the pure bliss of knowing Him in true intimacy, is that it works to make us like Him.
We have learned that what primarily fuels this pursuit is hunger for God. Not only desiring Him, but REQUIRING Him. As we sang this morning, “I’m desperate for You” or in the song, Running after You we sang the lyrics, “Hope calls to hope deep in my bones there is an agony, I am aching for You and nothing else will do. My souls thirsts for You.”
These words in praise to God are appropriate and find similar refrains in the words of the songs written by psalmist of scripture.
Finally, last week I introduced the fact that this hunger for God comes at a cost.
The cost of hunger is a laying aside of all other loves and lovers in preference of Him!
These loves and lovers include the greater categories of earthly possessions, the esteem of others, intellectual pursuits, sins and people.
We are going to ease our way deeper into this a little today, because we want to pay whatever price is necessary to know Him more completely and thereby be transformed into His likeness.
I believe the first and most important step we can take is the one which is always immediately in front of us – that next one. As such, we will look at the cost of walking or living in the light of what we already know of Him so that we can be entrusted and honored with knowing Him more as James tells us is the reality.
The cost we pay in this arena is often called suffering, because it requires a death.
There is a method behind what of Christ is revealed to you. Each revelation provides light for your personal next step into His likeness.
So when that light comes, with it comes temptation, opposition and persecution to slow or completely stop your progress of transformation into His image. Satan actively seeks to hinder your walking in the light of what you know.
James 1:2-4, “(2) My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, (3) because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (4) And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.”
What is the perfect effect of endurance?
Romans 5:1-4, “(1) Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through Whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. (3) Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (4) and endurance, character, and character, hope.”
So the perfect effect James was mentioning is approved character.
So with that understanding let’s see where James was going with that statement.
James 1:12-18, “(12) Blessed is a man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.
(13) No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. (14) But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires.
(15) Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
(16) Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. (17) Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.
(18) By His Own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth SO THAT we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.”
So not only what we come to know about God is important, but more important than that is what we ALREADY know of Him.
What are we doing with that knowledge of Him which has already been granted to us? Are we honoring the person of that knowledge – namely Jesus Himself and the giver of that knowledge, namely the Father God by walking in the light of what we know of Him?
Here in James, God the Father is referred to as the Father of lights, which is interesting because in 1Jn. Chapter 1 where we are headed, John also makes a similar observation of the Father.
“(1) This is what we proclaim to you:
what was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life –
(2) and the LIFE was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you THE ETERNAL LIFE that was with the Father and was revealed to us).
(3) What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ).
(4) Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
(5) Now this is the gospel message we have heard from Him and announce to you:
God is light, and in Him there is no darkness AT ALL!“
This is one the primary axioms of our faith. It highlights the eternal absolute nature of God as pure and unchanging.
God is absolute light. In Him there is NO darkness – none whatsoever.
We have with our human eyes never seen 100% pure light.
Light, as it is expressed in this natural creation is a spectrum of electromagnetic energy, the greatest portion of which is invisible to the human eye.
So even natural light is something which we in our current form as mortal human beings, we cannot even see with our eyes. Some parts of that spectrum, if we were exposed to them fur long periods of time would kill us, whereas an exceedingly small part of it, if intense enough, would kill us instantly if we were in its presence for even an instant.
Now natural light is only part of THIS creation and is therefore not the same light spoken of here but it is a natural representation of it.
Whether John is speaking metaphorically or not, is unknown. However, this light does have a representation as light as we know and understand it as is seen in the testimonies of those who have seen God in a vision or of Peter, James and John who saw Jesus transfigured before them. It is bright, and shining with a radiance akin to the sun.
- Habakkuk 3:4, “His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power.”
- Matthew 17:2, “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, Who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One Who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
- Revelation 1:16, “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”
One thing is for certain, that one meaning of light is knowledge and understanding and as such this passage is at very least saying God knows all.
There is NOTHING that escapes His sight. As the writer of Hebrews affirms,
“And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.”~ Heb. 4:13
He is omniscient!
It is likely that the light spoken of here is both literal and metaphorical and that in the spiritual realm there may be no difference between the two.
What makes for light in eternity, may also cause understanding.
This is indicated by Paul a few times when he speaks of our current perception of God when compared to that which we will have when, with new and glorified eyes, we truly see Him. We will know even as we are known.
However, currently this is impossible.
1Timothy 6:16, “He alone possesses immortality and lives in unapproachable light, Whom no human has ever seen or is able to see. To him be honor and eternal power! Amen.”
This passage is marginally difficult, but I think the difficulty is removed for us in other passages. We know that Jesus said, No man has seen God at any time. By THAT time the new birth was not available and no one had been brought into the presence of God.
However, we are told we will see Him in places like…
- Matt. 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
- 1Cor. 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.”
- 1Jn. 3:2, “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
- Rev. 22:1-4, “(1) Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life – water as clear as crystal – pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, (2) flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. (3) And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship Him, (4) and they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.”
Wuest translates 1Jn. 1:5 this way,
“And it is this message which we have heard from Him and at present is ringing in our ears and we are bringing back tidings to you, that God as to His nature is light, and darkness in Him does not exist, not even one particle.”
“(6) If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.
(7) But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
“(8) If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
(10) If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
So the fellowship we are to enjoy with God requires that we walk in the light of what we know of Him already.
Knowing Him may come at a cost, but its dividends are overwhelming and glorious!
The cost is suffering, so next week we will begin in Romans 8 – which is a GREAT passage about suffering death to the desires of the flesh in preference to the leading of the Spirit.