The light shines in the darkness

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The darkness is spreading—rapidly.

Every day, it seems like yet another menacing cloud has spread its dark shadow across the land.

The relentless reporting of widespread sexual harassment has dominated the news cycle for months. Television hosts, congressmen, Hollywood elites, journalists and businessmen have all confessed to grievous acts of sexual harassment. The repercussions have been enormous, as women across the country have accused employers and co-workers of inappropriate behavior.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Online pornography use is at an all-time high. Gay and transgender characters are now a common sight on television, even in programs for small children. Atheists are hell-bent on eradicating any mention of God in town halls, schools and sporting events. Drug addiction, especially to new opioid painkillers, is an epidemic in many parts of the country, particularly in rural areas with high joblessness.

Mass shootings are no longer a rare occurrence, and they happen in once-sacred places like churches and historically safe spaces like schools and public venues. The weapons of terrorists are no longer just homemade bombs but also cars and trucks, which can run down citizens in broad daylight on busy city thoroughfares.

Abroad, the darkness is just as widespread.

Christians across the Middle East suffer intense persecution from Islamic terrorists and oppressive governments. In so many parts of the world, it’s never been a more dangerous time to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some think we are on the verge of nuclear war as North Korea continues to ratchet up the very real threat of an atomic conflict that could have catastrophic consequences for the entire world. The thought of multiple nuclear weapons being launched from countries like North Korea and Iran (which the North Koreans supply with arms) and reciprocal military responses is frightening indeed.

The Bible is clear that moral and spiritual darkness has always been the case for a world that rejects and refuses to acknowledge God. Describing a godless culture that hates God, the Apostle Paul said that “they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Moral darkness invariably leads to unruly, disobedient living that defies God’s commandments and principles, setting the stage for lifestyles and behavior that eventually reap destructive consequences.

What I believe is happening today that I certainly haven’t seen in my lifetime is the incredibly swift spread of darkness across virtually every sector of our culture, here at home and in practically every region of the globe.

The Judeo-Christian worldview that once was predominant has seen serious erosion. The forces of evil are working on every front to undermine and destroy the foundations of a morally healthy society—respect for authority, the sacredness of the marriage union between a man and a woman, the sanctity of life for the unborn, and our freedom to take a stand for values that we know are right.

The Bible is clear that such moral chaos comes because people reject the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light” (John 3:19-20).

Jesus is the Light of the world. In fact, there is no light other than Christ. Those who walk in darkness are those who don’t know the Savior of the World, the Author of Light.

For those of us who have repented of our sins and placed our faith in our Lord and Savior, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).

Paul put it this way as he described the Lord’s commandment to him in his preaching: “I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:17-18).

Hell itself is not only the absence of light, but it is complete, utter, total darkness. The Scriptures call it “outer darkness,” a place that is reserved exclusively for the devil, fallen angels and unrepentant man.

But the Light that is from above, the Light of the World, will be the single source of all light in the new Heaven and the new earth. “And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light” (Revelation 22:5).

And we know that however great and wide the spread of darkness over the world may be, it can never extinguish the True Light. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

While I can—for as long as I can—as God gives me strength, I will proclaim Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). In the coming year, I will be proclaiming that Gospel in Canada as well as in the U.S., Portugal, England, Armenia and Mexico.

It’s our responsibility as believers to let our light shine before men, and to honor and glorify God by our good works and godly life, regardless of how evil the culture has become. The Bible calls us to be “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).  ©2017 BGEA

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.