Sunday, February 26, 2006

John the Apostle on Light and Darkness

My friend Judy and I were talking last week about how John could say so confidently that the darkness is passing away because the true light is already shining. Indeed, far from passing away, the darkness seems to be growing, as it was in the 1930s, as the nations become more unrestrained in savagery, and as people everywhere grow more enamored of lies that justify them in slaughtering other people, growing ever more callous and licentious. And just as Paul wrote, in the churches they cannot endure sound teaching, but turn away from the truth - and as Jesus said, when the light in them is darkness, how great is that darkness! How then can John say that the darkness is passing away?

The first thing to remember in reading John's writings, and especially First John, is that he is writing as a witness. This is what he has seen, heard, and handled (1 John1:1-3). What John experienced and wants his readers to experience is that the true light is shining, enlightening everyone who receives it, and that whenever that happens darkness must always yield. When light and darkness meet, light always prevails. When we are deceived, it must always be by our becoming darkness ourselves, as we turn away from truth and hide in some lie. Light wakes us up in the face of any darkness, but darkness never puts us to sleep when we are yielding to truth.

So how then can darkness grow so strong and increase its power if it really is passing away? In Revelation 13, we see that the rise of the beast is the direct result of Satan's defeat in heaven (Rev. 12). Precisely because Satan loses his authority to accuse God's people in heaven, he sends forth his hand on earth, using what he has in place of what he has lost. We see it work this way all the time in life.

John Toland, in his history of the Japanese empire, dates its decline from the irrevocable decision in 1936 to go to war in China. Japan set out on uninterrupted expansion from 1936 to 1942, but it was all decline, because it was a panicky grab for rubber and petroleum and to dominate China, leading first to a quagmire in China resembling the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq and the Soviet war in Afghanistan - and then to a war with the United States which the Japanese navy, in particular, knew would lead to total defeat.

When the wicked come like a storm, then is the time to dig deep into the truth, which is always to learn and turn away from our own darkness, and then to stand fast in that truth. We may not change the world - although occasionally that happens - but we will alwaysrescue our own lives, and as Jeremiah reminded Baruch, that's plenty (Jeremiah 45).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USA recently concluded an Agreement with Iran over nuclear power.
It was an agreement supported by only 20% of Americans. Yet in this dispute with Iran the USA was 125% wrong and Iran was 110% right. The whole campaign was a shame. It was an effort to start a war with a country that has been victimized by the USA in the past. A country on the other side of the planet. A country which has not attacked another country is a thousand years. Those who defended the US position in this conflcit were a perfect example of some one denying Christ for the third time.

9/14/2015 12:48 PM  

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