A few weeks ago I had the privilege to sub in a Bible Study class at Second Baptist for a friend and was teaching on 2 Corinthians 3-5. I focused on Chapter 4 and Light … after teaching it was lesson that really stayed with me and I wanted to capture my thoughts …
The word “light” occurs 245 times in the Scripture with various, though significant meanings. Paul authored the letter to the church in Corinth after his own encounter with light. Acts 9:3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. This was the beginning of Paul’s conversion from persecutor of Christians to teacher and preacher of the Word. As I was studying this text, “light” was recurring in the text and I wanted to dig in.
The center of our lives is often HOPE; hope in the future, hope for change, hope for restoration, hope for love, hope for money, hope for acceptance, hope for success and hope for _________.
LIGHT gives answer and promise to HOPE:
- Light of Gospel — 2 Corinthians 4:4 the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The events of the Gospel are often what we believe to be the Gospel – – 1st Cor 15:3-4 – Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. However, the Glory of Christ – the image of God – is the good news of the Gospel! A spiritual light that shines because of Christ and his redemptive work. As a sinner, we are lost with no hope. God begins to move in our lives, to call us to Him, oftentimes unbeknowst to us, through circumstance, encounter, person or event. Eph 1:17 God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in though knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know the hope to which he has called you. The light of the Gospel begins to shine on our hearts, illuminating a need for everlasting hope; a light that can not be seen with the physical eyes.
- Light in Heart — 2 Corinthians 4:6 let light shine out of darkness
The heart that is lost is dark; with no permanent light. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. The god of this world is Satan; who encourages us to fill our hearts with temporal pleasures attempting to fulfill a permanent void longing for everlasting hope. Upon recognition of sinful self and acceptance of Jesus the heart has eternal hope and the void begins to fill with the One who created the heart with a purpose to love Him. John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”
- Light to World – – 2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
As believers in Christ, Christians have a treasure entrusted to us, mere “jars of clay” to “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” to the world around us. The world who is lost and without hope, just as we were before the light of the gospel pierced our hearts and took residence. We are called to show people who Christ is. John Piper explains it best: “… if you feel average or less than average in your sense of fitness to tell the gospel, you are the person God is looking for—a clay pot, who simply shares the treasure of the gospel, not the glitzy intellect, not the glitzy eloquence, not the glitzy beauty or strength or cultural cleverness. Then God will do his work through the gospel, and the surpassing power will belong to him and not to us. Be encouraged, ordinary Christian. You are appointed, precisely in your ordinariness, for the greatest work in the world: showing the Treasure of Christ.” “Light” in this context is to “render evident” – to show evidence to a world where your hope comes from. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,.
- Light Affliction — 2 Corinthians 4:17 for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison
As followers of Christ we are not promised an easy life, we will endure affliction, but we have eternal hope despite the affliction. This world and our lifetimes seem long; but in the eyes of God this is but a blink of our eternity with Him. As Christians when we endure affliction we demonstrate our hope in eternity and belief in Christ. When a non-believer is faced with affliction (ie: illness, loss, death, financial, relational, family) the remedy is often self-help and resolutions which are product of the god of this world, Satan. Our position as Christians is to encourage the non-believer to see the hope that we have, to be a light in the world looking for hope. The ultimate affliction – death on the cross – was endured for you and for me, and not only endured, but endured with joy Hebrews 12:2 the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.
In a world that seems to constantly be longing for the “next big thing” to satisfy I am more and more aware how people are just longing for hope in something. The LIGHT is the only HOPE that will bring peace to all circumstances in life – the good, the bad and the ugly.
The light of Christ has given my heart hope and I want the world to see that there is hope ~ together as jars of clay we will endure this brief life as a means to an eternal fellowship with the King of Kings.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.