Part 2 - The Sanctifying Work of Christ
Separated in the Light of Christ
Day one of creation is simply stated: "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness" (Gen. 1:3-4). Paul the Apostle makes a correlation concerning this act: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
The "knowledge of the glory of God" is given to mankind. This knowledge had been lost in the Fall and is once again made available in Jesus Christ. Such knowledge is called "light." It is the "light" of the "knowledge" of the glory of God. Fallen man is in darkness, but to those in Christ light is given. It is "shone in our hearts" by "the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness." Paul is relating this to the first day of creation.
The knowledge of the glory of God is "in the face of Jesus Christ." John 8:12 records: "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.' " Jesus is the source of light to the world. Those in him are brought out of darkness and into the light. This is called the "light of life." A new and living relationship with God through Christ brings the light of the knowledge of God. Thus John says, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4).
Separated from darkness to light
Genesis 1:4 records, "And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness." Here is the first of four days in which God separates. He "divided" the light from the darkness. As a type of sanctification, this parallels Christ who separates those in His light from those in darkness.
Peter says, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). He says concerning believers that God "called you out of darkness." This is the position they came from. Their new position is "into His marvelous light." Because of this separation of light and darkness, Paul says to the Corinthians, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14).
Types of day and night
The first day of creation is finished in verse five: "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." Again, the types of "day" and "night" speak of the separation that Christ brought about. 1 Thess. 5:5 states, "You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness." Those set apart in Christ are "sons of light." Jesus said, "While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light" (John 12:36). The "sons of light" are also "sons of the day." Otherwise, those in darkness are said to be "of the night." The separation is clear and distinct. God calls those of the light "day," and those in darkness He calls "night."
The work of Christ
Regarding the light of the gospel, Paul writes: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them" (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Satan is blinding fallen man from knowing and understanding the good news of the gospel. This blindness is a "veil."
It is the work of Christ that brings light. Paul says of his fellow brethren who were outside of Christ, "But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Cor. 3:14-16).
Jesus told His disciples, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit. Until He ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit could not come. When Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit being given as rivers of living water, John added this commentary: "for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). The birth of the church was the day of Pentecost. This was the day God the Holy Spirit came to abide with mankind once again, enabled through the ascension of Jesus to the Father.
A finished work
Concerning the union of God and man, and the knowledge of God that this brings, Jesus said, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:13-15). This knowledge of God sets apart the people of God. The rest of the world is in darkness and cannot comprehend the things of God.
Paul the Apostle talks of this knowledge of the things of God that comes about from the union of man's regenerated spirit with the Spirit of God: "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" (1 Cor. 2:10-12).
One aspect of the finished and sanctifying work of Christ is the giving
of light through the Holy Spirit. God's people are set apart from the world
in that they have the light of the knowledge of God.