Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sons of Light

In the last post ‘Father of lights’ we looked at scriptural references associating the Divine nature and presence with the concept of light. Here we consider the implications of this to believers, the sons of God.

God is Light (1 Jn 1:5); consequently, in the scriptures we find references to the children of God as ‘sons of light’, in the words of the Apostle Paul: ‘You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness’ (1 Thes 5:5).
Jesus asserted that he is the light of the world (Jn 8:12, Jn 9:5, 11:9, 12:35, 12:36, 12:46) – and indeed the words by the prophet Isaiah foresaw the Messiah as the light of the world; spoken of as the ‘servant of the Lord’ who will be the light for the gentiles (Isa 42:6); and similarly in the words of Simeon recorded in Luke 2:32 speaking of Jesus as ‘the light for revelation to the gentiles’ (see also Acts 26:23).

Amazingly, however, we observe that the language of light is then imputed to believers and disciples of the Messiah. We are all familiar with the phrase Jesus spoke to his disciples: “You are the light of the world--like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matt 5:15). The Apostle Paul was building on this very concept (which as we will see is a pre-messianic teaching), when he preached in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch: “For the Lord gave us this command when he said, 'I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth’” (Acts 13:47)* - the Apostle was quoting here the words given to the prophet Isaiah of the remnant of Israel (Isa 49:6); see also Isaiah 60:3 with reference to God’s people, Israel. The mission the Apostle was given was ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God’ (Acts 26:18).
It is a wonderful thing that the children of God are referred to in similar terms to their Lord and saviour; and moreover assigned a purpose after the Lord’s, to be a light in the world. Isaiah 42:6 refers to the Lord’s servant; this portion of scripture is regarded by most scholars as a prophecy pointing to the Messiah: ‘I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles’. Then we see later in Isaiah 49:6 that God’s people, the remnant of Israel is referred to in the same terms ‘…I have made you a light to the gentiles…’ – which we see demonstrated in action by the Apostle (Acts 14:47).

The distinction and setting apart of the light from darkness, moreover the ways of light from the ways of darkness, is evident in the instruction by the Apostle Paul to followers of the Way; he writes to the Corinthians: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?’ (2 Cor 6:14); to the Ephesians: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Eph 5:8); to the Colossians: ‘…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light’ (Col 1:12) and to the Thessalonians: ‘For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night’ (1 Thes 5:5).

We also observe the Apostle Peter instructing believers: ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1 Peter 2:9).

Similarly, the Apostle John, as we have seen in his gospel spoke of the divine Light; and in his letters (1 Jn 1:5), furthermore, elaborating how the light of God extends to cover the lives of believers: ‘But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin’ (1 Jn 1:7); moreover, how they aught to love one another as fitting of abiding in the light (v. 8-10).




* See also Romans 2:19, The Apostle Paul making reference to God’s people as the light to those in darkness.

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