A Devotion for 18 November 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:11-14; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
What does it mean to exchange the works of darkness for Light? Is it not the full effect of the work of sanctification?
Darkness is the natural state of a world without God. In the beginning, the world was shrouded in smothering darkness. God began His works of Creation in utter darkness. On that first day, “ . . . the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1-3) God replaced the shroud of darkness with Light. Each day thereafter began in darkness and ended in Light.
In all areas from Creation, the work of the Lord has begun in darkness and ended in Light – and it continues to be so until this very day! The heart of Saul (Paul) was in deep darkness as he traveled the Damascus Road en route to persecute and hurt the Christians of the Church at Damascus until he was struck down by the Light.
Untold millions and billions have sat in darkness from Creation. Many still remain in that darkness created by an eclipse of the Light of God by the world and its false promises. But there are other millions who have come out of the darkness in the Light of God’s Word at Salvation. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) Eternal death is an absence of Light. Hell is its abode. “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11-12) Salvation is not by way of the blood either of Adam or of Abraham, but by the faith expressed in the promise made to Abraham of a Redeemer.
The dramatic great works of charity we do may be important, but even more important is the daily lives we live. My father taught me that the best judge of a man’s character is not in some isolated good deed that he had done, but in the small good, he does on a daily basis. It is the small and regular incidents of life that delineate character and not the one remarkable instance that impresses all around.
We all know, if we know the Lord, that all Light comes down from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) He is our Sun of Righteousness but, like the light of our solar sun, that great Sun can be eclipsed when we allow worldly desires or treasures to eclipse that Sun by means of eclipse. We must not allow anything to come between us and our Lord.
As we walk the Narrow Way, we have that brilliant Light of Truth to guide our feet. The right way is vividly revealed before our steps. But when we turn our backs to the Light, our path is darkened and our steps perilous. No man can walk a treacherous trail without the benefit of Light.
In many states in our nation, we have a law termed, the Sunshine Law. What does that mean? It means that all government business and councils will be done in the light of public observation so that nothing under-handed might be done. My, how we would benefit today from such a law in every state where votes are being fraudulently cast!
The light or dark condition of the heart is the governing value of the Christian. If hate, revenge, deceit, riotousness, envy, covetousness, etc. are harbored there, that heart is dark. But if the heart is filled with joy, love, kindness, honesty, clean-mindedness – then that heart has the Light of God to brighten its chambers. Doubt it not, god knows every cranny and nook of our hearts. Wherever the Lord enters to abide, and He abides forever, darkness is cast out and cannot exist. He is the Light of the World and darkness cannot exist in the presence of Light – even a small candle can vanquish the darkness of a roomful darkness.
As the Lord’s people, we have nothing to hide in darkness. We “walk in the Light as He is in the Light.” “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” (John 35-36) The life we enjoy in Christ is all light. But, at the discretion of God, our days on earth will end. Then comes the darkness of the borrowed tomb. We must do our physical and spiritual labors while light remains. When I was a young child, I hated the coming of night because that was the time that my mother would call me inside from play. The play of a child ends at the dark night, and so does the work of the children oi God end when darkness pervades the fields. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)
The armor of the Christian is Light. The comprehensive Law of our Lord is centered on Love. It is by the means of love that we are enabled to keep the Commandments. Love brings Light to bear on all our actions as Christians. We are not perfect by any means, but when our behavior and faith is guided by love, we are walking in the Light of the Lord and under the protection of His L:ight.
“2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-8)
If we are wise stewards of the Lord, and faithful followers of His Word, we will strive earnestly to exchange the darkness around us for light which is a benefit of Christ. There are a number of encouraging reasons that we should do this:
1. Since the day is at hand, the struggle will not belong. Do not tire in well-doing.
2. It signals the coming Light of Eternal Day.
3. Light renews our heavenly assurance of promise to come.
4. Light gives us Communion with God since He is the Source of all Light.
5. Light affords us fellowship in truth for nothing is hidden in the light.
6. Light leads to triumph over the world.
The armor of Light suggests the reality of the battle in which we are engaged. We are engaged with an
enemy of darkness. What an advantage we enjoy in having the Light of God to signal our battlelines and to secure our defenses!
Just as our Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the World – “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) – so are we included in the sharing of that Light: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14 Is this a contradiction of Christ being the Light of the World and in our being the Light of the world? Not at all! Our light is the same as the light of the moon – it is borrowed (or reflected) light from the sun. So, the Light of the Christian is the Light of the World in the same sense that our Light is the reflected Light of the Sun of Righteousness.