Roger's Postings

Friday, February 17, 2012

2 Corinthians 4:3-6     Living in the Light of Christ                           19/2/12

 (3)  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. {4} The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. {5} For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. {6} For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

 Here on Transfiguration Sunday we have a very powerful picture in front of us. One which cuts through to the very heart of our society; our church; and our very being, today. It is a message which portrays two very distinct ways of living. One which is of, going through life blinded; with a veil over our eyes; or using a modern expression, with rose coloured glasses on; oblivious of the disaster that is about to befall us. The other is of, living in the light of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that he has for us, and thereby being able to clearly see one’s way through life and into eternity. Either Jesus Christ shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, or the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. The image is clear.

But let us use another picture to help us see the importance of what is being said. Imagine being in the middle of a battlefield on a pitch black night. You know that there are mines and death traps all around; and because of the darkness and impending defeat there is no way out. At daylight you know that you will be shot for sure. What are you going to do?

Are you going to run headlong through the minefield and hope for the best? Are you going to grope around on your hands and knees, once again not sure of what is going to happen next? Will you just sit there and pretend that it is not really all that serious and at daylight the whole situation will be quite different, after all we have got the Americans on our side?

 But then in the midst of your dilemma, there is an incredibly bright light that appears and lights up this whole area for you; and in fact even shows you a way out. Now of course in the first instance this light is blinding, but again what do you do? Do you allow your eyes to become accustomed to the light and then follow the way out? Or do you cover your eyes to shield them from the brightness and then turn away and seek to continue on in the darkness?

 Now there are many, sadly, that are doing just that with their lives. There are those who are closing their eyes to the fact that they are in danger and who are pretending that all is not as bad as we are told. Then there are those who know in reality that this world is a minefield, with dangers and uncertainties all around. They know, like all of us, that there are so many lives being destroyed every day, in so many different ways: murders, suicides, drugs, divorce, gambling, corruption, and the list could go on and on. Not to mention all kinds of religions and cults, as well as those who are falling for the lies, that science has proved that there is no God; or that it is what we have to do that will get us through.

With all of this going on around us, we see some running headlong through life; getting what they can while they can, enjoying life now to hang with the consequences. Others again are moving cautiously through life, trying to do the right things, but simply hoping that somehow it will all work out alright in the end. Others again are just sitting about, doing nothing, pretending that all is well; trying to convince themselves that God will accept them because they are as good as the next person.

But in the end we all know that these efforts will be futile. They will not get us safely through this life and into heaven. The darkness of the philosophies of our world, which have as their basis, selfishness, and the self-centredness of humanity, and rebellion against God, means that there is no way out for humanity. Out help must come from outside.

That is where the Scriptures remind us again and again that it is Jesus Christ alone who is our only hope. He is the only light that there is when it comes to hope for the future. His life, death and resurrection is the only thing that will help us out of the hopeless mess that we are in. Here we again need to remember, he is much more than one who simply espoused and demonstrated a good way for us to live our lives. He is much more than one who gives us an easy road through life, so that we can live and do as we please. He gives light and life to every situation in life: lighting up the good times and experiences, as well as the seemingly bad ones, as we live out our lives in a sinful, destructive world.

Yes, in many ways it hurts us to look at Jesus as he is shown to us in the Bible. We don’t like our faults and failings exposed, and our vulnerabilities brought to the light of day. We want to live in ignorant bliss; being masters of our own lives; free to do as we please. His directions for life are too restrictive and narrow. His suffering and death do not fit into our understanding of a saviour and king. Instead we want him to do and say what we think is right and good. We also don’t want to hear that we deserve Hell and that there is nothing we can do to rectify that situation. However when the light of Christ shines in to our lives, these things and more are exposed, and we at first don’t like it.

 Never the less, once our real situation is made clear to us and we are prepared to acknowledge it, then it can be dealt with. In fact once we recognise that this is a terrible situation that we are in and repent of it, we find something truly amazing. As we turn to Jesus we find that we have already been forgiven: our faults and failings; our rebellion has already been punished. Jesus on the cross took it all on himself, so that we can see a way through life once again. There is now life and hope, even though we are still surrounded by danger and troubles.

 Then as we continue to look to Christ, his light shines into our hearts and lives. As we read, listen and meditate on God’s Word the light of the knowledge of the glory of God begins to transform our whole outlook on life. Jesus becomes Lord of our lives, and that means we don’t just look on him as our saviour, but he becomes the one who is all important in life for us. His word is seen and accepted as the truth: it leads and guides us in every aspect of our lives. Instead of society and science leading us in how to understand and interpret the Scriptures, we look to the Word and the centrality of Jesus Christ to guide us in what is right and true.

With Jesus Christ as Lord we can then face life and our own sin openly and honestly. We can acknowledge that we are far from perfect and that we constantly need Christ and his forgiveness and help. We can stand up and not follow the crowd and what is simply popular. We can deal with the situations that are before us, without having cover things up or ignore them because it may not make us look too good. We know we aren’t, but we know that we stand under God’s forgiveness, so we don’t need to veil the truth and bully our way through life. Instead of doing something for show and feel-good sensations, we can now give all the focus and glory to God and what he has done for us through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. After all, he alone is the one who has done everything necessary for us and our salvation.

 With this light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ we can then go forward in life, through thick and thin, with hope and confidence. Hope and confidence in Christ and what he has done for us, not in ourselves and what we do. Even when we fail: even when disaster, sickness and death confronts us, we still know that God loves us and has won a way through for us. Nothing now in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Eternal life is now ours, guaranteed. To God be the glory, great things he has done!

 So to conclude, the question stands; has Jesus been transformed in your life in this way? Is he the light of your life? Is he your Saviour and Lord, or have you turned your back on him and veiled his word so that you only see what you want to see? Irrespective of what you think, remember the light of the glory of Christ is still there shining bright. He wants you to know that he has a way lit through life for you. He wants you to have hope and certainty, no matter what you face.

 So my prayer is that you will allow him to light up your life and help you to grow and be the people that he wants you to be. And that through you others too may come to know the greatness of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. Because after all, he is the only hope of life and salvation for mankind. To him then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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