Jesus declared: “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).”
This is one of a number of statements that set Jesus apart from other religious teachers. No mere mortal could make a statement like this of himself unless he was a liar, lunatic or he was actually speaking the truth.
The apostle John in his first letter wrote:
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth (1Jn 1:5-6).”
Jesus promises the light of life to His followers. This is the life every Christian has in Christ—a life not of the darkness of sin but of the light of God. This is an absolute contrast between the life we have in Christ and worldliness. Light stands for all that is good and holy; darkness for everything vile and wicked.
Life in Christ is impossible if we do not ‘walk the talk’, that is, if our conduct does not align with our profession of faith. Walking in the light is a figure of speech for obedience. Negatively it means we do not continue to indulge in any sinful habit.
Those who do not live by the word of God are called liars. It was revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos that among the wicked are “all liars (who) shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev 21:8).”
The logic is amply clear to all who would listen to Jesus and His apostles. He is the Life-giver—something which could only be said of God—and to have the light of life one must faithfully follow Him.
The opposite of that is to walk in darkness—to be among “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars (Rev 21:8).”
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1Co 6:9-10).”
Acceptance of the truth demands a life that is in harmony with the truth. God expects no more, He demands no less. Obedience to His word is the test whether we are true disciples of Jesus in fellowship with Him and the Father.
Jesus says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).”
What is truth? Pilate asked that question without waiting for an answer (cf. John 18:38). Jesus has given us the answer in His prayer in the garden the night He was betrayed. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).”
Obedience is only such when there are commands to obey. Faithful living must be based on sound doctrine for it to be acceptable to God.
One doesn’t have to believe in God to live according to conscience or high morality. As humans created in the image of God we have an innate sense of right and wrong. We cannot judge a person as right with God because he lives a good life while disregarding the doctrines he holds to.
This sentiment is dangerous and a chief reason why some are misled into thinking that doctrines don’t really matter. If doctrines don’t matter or if morality is more important than doctrine, it follows that salvation is by the works of one’s own merit.
Both sound doctrines and morality are important; we cannot do without either.
Like a bird which cannot take flight with only one wing, holding onto sound doctrine without obedience and practicing morality without strict regard to sound doctrine are alike self-deceiving and dishonouring God.
When we obey the words of the Lord, He gives us the light of life; we are living a life in Christ, a life summarised beautifully by the apostle Paul.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20).”
This life we have in Christ leads to the production and cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25).”
Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that His disciples are not to be idle but rather exert godly influence in this world.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Mat 5:13-16).”
Do you have the light of life in you? Come to Jesus, learn of Him the Good News from His word, and obey with a willing and humble heart. This promise of life is to one and all who seek the Lord with all their hearts.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jer 29:13).”