Part 4 - The Application of Faith
Abiding in the Light of Christ
Jesus said, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46). Jesus is the light of the world. This light is defined as "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). Through Jesus Christ comes the knowledge of God. This knowledge is in the glory of who God is, the glory of Him as the Creator, and the glory of Him in His loving works and purposes toward His creation, the human race. Those apart from Christ are in darkness concerning these things, and so are said to "abide in darkness."
As the revelation of the things of God, Jesus is said to be the Logos, the Word of God. The Apostle John wrote, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth . . . No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:14, 18).
One aspect of the sanctifying work of Christ is separation from darkness into the light of Christ. It is the light of Christ where the believer has been placed to dwell, or abide, in. One aspect of abiding in Christ is living in His light. To abide in the light of Christ is to abide in His word.
Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). The mark of being in Christ, of being one of His disciples, is dwelling in His light which is His word. The word of Christ is not just the specific sayings of Jesus, but all of Scripture. Although written by men, Scripture is inspired by God, revealed through God the Son, and given through God the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to Timothy, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Spirit of truth
Jesus spoke to His disciples about the way in which the truth of God was to be revealed to them: "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).
God's provision for the believer to abide in the word is the Holy Spirit, "for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you." Life in Christ, which is a life of walking in the Spirit, is one of light where the truth of God is made known to the believer. The truth of God cannot be discerned by the natural mind, but must be revealed by the Holy Spirit to the spirit of man. Paul wrote of this: "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. 2:11-12).
A mark of regeneration is the writing of God's word upon the heart and mind of the believer by the Holy Spirit. The book of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah concerning the new covenant: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them" (Heb. 10:16). This love for God's word is reflected by the psalmist: "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
"If you abide in my word ..."
Through the light of God's word comes truth, and through truth comes freedom from bondage to sin. "If you abide in My word . . . you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jesus explained this freedom: "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:34-36). The practical effect of abiding in God's word is freedom from being a slave to sin.
The truth that sets a person free is the truth of the gospel. Paul wrote, "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). Believing in the light of the gospel makes the difference between perishing in sin and being delivered from the power of it. Concerning this, again Paul wrote, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). The message itself, accompanied by faith in those who hear it, is the power of God that delivers and transforms.
Walking in the light
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe" (1 Th. 2:13). To abide in the light of Christ is to have His word effectively work in the believer. The gospel message removes fear and brings assurance in its message about the removal of the guilt of sin through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The gospel message brings hope and consolation in its message about new life in the risen Christ, where one has been delivered from sin and death and joined to Christ where grace can be received.
Jesus said, "I am the ... life." To trust in Christ is to abide, by faith, in Him as the Life. One aspect of living in Christ as the Life is abiding in the light of His word through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a place of fellowship with God where God continually speaks through His word to the believer.
The Apostle John wrote, "And these things we write to you that your joy may
be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to
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 practice
the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses
us from all sin" (1 John 1:4-7).