"If, then, your whole body is luminous, not having any part dark, luminous will be the whole, as whenever a lamp, in its flashing, may be illuminating you."
All of us bring something of our past experiences or teachings that are useless when it comes to spiritual growth, either from philosophies, religion, politics, morals, or lack of, when we enter through the cramped door (Luke 13:24) (1). We don't enter through the cramped door as a bright shining light, we enter just as we are, in darkness; "He calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Yet even in this (our) darkness there is a light in us.
Those on the road less traveled are losing those teachings, either religious, or secular, that are binding us to the institutions of humans. Actually which are binding us to this earth. Paul tells us: "giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light, Who rescues us out of the jurisdiction of Darkness, and transports us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." (Colossians 1:12-13) This is the purpose of the light in us. It exposes all that is darkness concerning God, brings it to the light, and removes the darkness. This is all part of the process of; "being salted with fire" (Mark 9:49), spoken of by Jesus. Much like taking out the garbage, which after collected is taken to the dump and burned.
John tells us this in his account; "And the light is appearing in the darkness, and the darkness grasped (overpowered) it not." (John 1:5). This light shines (appears) "IN" darkness, not into darkness. The light grows "IN" darkness, not outside of it. Once the light "IN" us starts to grow brighter the darkness "IN" us becomes less and less. None of us come to the light. The light shines, or better still, is in us. Paul tells us: "for the God Who says that, out of darkness light shall be shining, is He Who shines in our hearts, with a view to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)
As John tells us: "The darkness grasped (overpowered) it not." Darkness becomes helpless once it is exposed to light. An illustration of this would be when we open a door from a lit hallway into a dark room; the darkness doesn't spill into the lightened hallway, the light from the hallway spills into the darkened room.
Darkness cannot dwell in comfort once the light has exposed it. This is why those who come to realize certain truths (light) that conflict with false teachings (darkness) can only move away from the false (dark), and move toward the truth (light).
As was said, all who enter the cramped door which leads to the narrow way (road) will at first cling onto many of the teachings and traditions from the places they leave to begin their journey on the narrow road to knowing Him. Whether you come from a Baptist background, Pentecostal, Mennonite, Mormon, Catholic, secular, or wherever, you will drag some of those pet doctrines, or philosophies through the cramped door. All that is false from all these sects in the world will be exposed by the light in God's time (Hebrews 11:6) (2), but until it is much of it will darken our understanding of God and hinder our knowing Him.
As we move forward up the narrow road we will find many differences in doctrines from those we will meet who believe in the reconciliation of all. Actually we will hear of some divisions among the different camps, and splinter groups will form much like the rest of Christendom, this in part is because of the various pet doctrines that have been packed up and bagged and carried through the cramped door. This also happens when some new truth is revealed from the scriptures, and the individual(s) who has come to realize it can no longer fellowship scripturally with those who have yet to come to a realization of what has been revealed to them. The spirit forces them to move on.
When Martin Luther saw the great truth that the just shall live by faith, and other truths from the scriptures that caused him to break away from the Catholic system, he dragged a lot of that systems practices and traditions with him, and much of it is still a part of the Protestant religion today. And before that, when the Catholic system started, it dragged a lot of the traditions from the pagan religions it broke away from. And before that, the early Christian church dragged a lot of the practices of Judaism with it (Acts 21:20-21) (3). And before that the Israelites dragged a lot of the practices from the nations they came across. It can't be helped. Humans get comfortable with certain teachings and traditions, and some feel the need to defend them, or modify them, and often times go back to them, at the expense of spiritual growth. Paul warned the Galatians of this danger: "Yet now, knowing God, yet rather being known by God, how are you turning back again to the infirm and poor elements for which you want to slave again anew? Days are you scrutinizing, and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, lest somehow I have toiled for you feignedly." (Galatians 4:9-11) Paul went so far as to call this a bewitching in Galatians 3:1; which means something that fascinates those who are bewitched to be drawn into these practices. This could be a sense of belonging, a satisfying of the soul, or something that pleases the eye, anything that causes you to draw away from entering the cramped door.
Also there are those who can't get past God 101, they get comfortable where they are at and their growth stymies, or they grow horizontally, as Paul says in Hebrews 5:12 to 6:1-3 "For when also, because of the time, you ought to be teachers, you have need again of one to teach you what are the rudimentary elements of the oracles of God, and you have come to have need of milk, and not of solid nourishment. For everyone who is partaking of milk is untried in the word of righteousness, for he is a minor. Now solid nourishment is for the mature, who, because of habit, have faculties exercised for discriminating between the ideal and the evil (Concordant Translation). Let us leave behind the elementary teaching about Christ and go forward to adult understanding. Let us not lay over and over again the foundation truths - repentance from the deeds which led to death, believing in God, baptism and laying-on of hands, belief in the life to come and the final (eonian) judgment. No, if God allows, let us go on."(Phillips Translation)
Yet God is patient with us, as He was with those in the past, much more so than we are with ourselves and others. He knows it takes time for us to discard those things we drag with us as we move closer to Him, and He knows there will be things we see from the scriptures that seem to be what they are not while the light in the darkness slowly illuminates and eliminates them. It must be remembered, truth from the scriptures is progressive, constantly opening into greater vistas. Many believe in personal salvation, but the light in them is still darkness when it comes to seeing the salvation of all.
The scriptures tell us; in order for the light to enlighten your mind has to be opened: "He opens their mind to understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45), your heart enlightened: "the eyes of your heart having been enlightened." (Ephesians 1:18), and your eye single (not complicated): "The lamp of the body is your eye. If then your eye is single, your whole body will be luminous" (Matthew 6:22), and acknowledge the One Who brings you into His light: "the same time giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light" (Colossians 1:12).
The Psalmist wrote: "Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne." (Psalm 97:2) Isaiah wrote: "Truly You are a God Who hides Himself." (Isaiah 45:15) The one who diligently seeks to know Him always starts out in darkness until God reveals Himself in the darkness. Often times this is where truth is concealed, hidden from our sight, in the darkness, until the light illuminates it: "It is the glory of Elohim to conceal (hide) a matter, and the glory of kings to investigate a matter." (Proverbs 25:2)
On the road less travelled we come to see that light and darkness dwell together, and they may our whole journey, and God created both; Isaiah tells us this is so in chapter 45:7 : "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." But the light will eventually expose the darkness and the darkness will have no where to hide, Jesus said: "I have come into the world a Light, that everyone who is believing in Me should not be remaining in darkness." (John 12:46) Isaiah says: "I will lead the blind (spiritually darkened) by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths (the narrow road) I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your light eonian, and your God will be your glory." (Isaiah 42:16, Isaiah 60:19) Paul tells us this time of darkness is coming to an end as well in Romans 13:12: "The night progresses, yet the day is near. We, then, should be putting off the acts of darkness, yet should be putting on the implements of light."
Jesus also tells us everyone who believes in Him should not be remaining in darkness (John 12:46).
As has been stated in a previous article: flesh and blood did not reveal this truth to Peter; "Thou are the Christ." It couldn't. Peter's flesh was still controlling him and most of his thoughts. The light in him was darkness. Peter was more disposed to the ways of humans (darkness) than to the ways of God (light) (Matthew 16:23) (4).
How dark was the light in Peter?
At one point Jesus told Peter to; "get behind Me satan". At Gethsemane the darkness in Peter once again was in control; Peter fell asleep when the Lord asked him to pray with Him during His hour of trial. Later that next morning Peter's darkness won the battle again; he would deny he was even acquainted with Jesus when badgered by his accusers. After Christ' resurrection Peter didn't believe Mary Magdalene when she told him she saw the risen Lord. At this point one would think there was no light at all in Peter, yet there was.
The real Peter, (and real us during our journey), had to be awakened by the illumination of the spirit of God. I say the real "us" because the real "us" was chosen from the disruption of the world. We were already chosen to be with God, and to know God and His Son long before we were born, Paul tells us this is so in Ephesians 1:4: "according as He chooses us in Him before the disruption (foundation A.V.) of the world". The light is already in us, although at first it is darkness. All of us await the light to dawn in us, as Paul says: "Rouse! O drowsy one, and rise from among the dead (darkness), and Christ shall dawn (light) upon you!" (Ephesians 5:14).
In those moments when Peter was still, and sitting with Jesus, listening to Him speak, then the light of the spirit revealed to him the truths of God (Psalm 46:10a) (5). Later Jesus told Peter and the others that the spirit would reveal (shed light on) more truth concerning Himself (John 16:12-13) (6). It is the same for those on the road less travelled. Only when we are still, listening to His words does the still small voice speak to us, revealing Who He is, illuminating our hearts. Not when we are busy running to and fro, or caught up in the frenzy of religion, or life, but sitting, waiting, listening (1 Kings 19:11-13) (7).
This voice is not audible (at least not to me); it is more of a witnessing between the spirit of God (light) with the spirit of humanity (darkness) that both dwell in the believer, as if they are having a conversation (Romans 8:16) (8), the One spirit, which is of God, slowly bringing the other into a realization of the light in us, (overtaking) the other (darkness) (1 Corinthians 2:11-13) (9). Not a "feeling", not an "experience," but an enlightening, an illuminating, an exposing, an altering of our thoughts to accord with His (Ephesians 1:17-18) (10). Where darkness is being expelled, where the spirit works without measure (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) (11). During these times He only reveals as much as we can comprehend for the moments we are alone with Him (1 Corinthians 13:9-12) (12), then there is a pause. The Hebrew word is Selah. This "Selah" comes after the light exposes and then drives out more of the darkness that hinders our growth. The Selah is where/when we are given time to contemplate and meditate on what God is revealing about Himself to us (1 Timothy 4:15, 16) (13). It is all part of the process of becoming a "New Creation in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17) (14), a son/daughter of the Father.
Paul, writing in Ephesians prayed; "that God may be giving us a spirit of wisdom and revelation of Him, that the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, that we will know the greatness of His power for us who believe, and we will know that He will be the All in all"" (see Ephesians 1:17-23).
Many have a head knowledge about God, by that I mean what they have learned from others, they are "always learning and yet not at any time able to come into a realization of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7) and never see the road signs that lead to the narrow road that reveals Who He really is, they never get to know Him. As Paul's prayer reveals to us: the eyes of our heart must be enlightened in order for the truth (light) which God is revealing in us about Himself can/will penetrate (shine) into every part of our being and life. Those on the narrow road are being shown truths about God that He has kept secret from the foundation of the earth. Truths He first revealed to His apostles and prophets concerning His absolute Love and salvation for all His creation (Ephesians 3:4-5) (15). These truths don't just come out of thin air, this is something we have to participate in (Hebrews 5:13-14) (16), we have to seek for these truths and pray for illumination. Once revealed they will fill your heart with joy and light: "Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the de[light] of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16) Those called by His name will; "be knowing Him, and be known by Him" (Galatians 4:9 a).
When Jesus was questioned by those sent by the scribes and chief priests, they were "aware that you (He) are saying and teaching correctly, and are not taking the surface view, but of a truth the way of God you are teaching."(Luke 20:21-22) Jesus' teachings went far beyond anything the religious leaders got out of the scriptures. His words (teachings) were correct, and far deeper than the surface view. This is the purpose of the light in us, to take us deeper into the scriptures, beyond the surface view, to a deeper, truer knowledge of God, past all the teachings that keep us bound to our flesh, actually, to keep us from looking at our flesh, and onto a renewing of the spirit (light) in us. As Paul says in (2 Corinthians 4:16); "but even if our outward man is decaying, nevertheless that within us is being renewed day by day."
The time is coming when all will be enlightened by the Light of God because in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5) (17), when all will know God (Isaiah 60:3, Matthew 4:16, Luke 2:30-32) (18). The light in all our darkness will reveal the True light-"which is (will be) enlightening every human- coming into the world." (John 1:9) Every human means all humans; there will not be one human left in darkness. God will eventually be Everything to everyone. That is what we on the narrow road know for certain: "that He will be the All in all." (Ephesians 1:23). That is the first truth hidden in the darkness that is illuminated on our journey to knowing God, that He will be the All in all.
To Be Continued
1. "Be struggling to be entering through the cramped door, for I am saying to you, many will be seeking to enter and will not be strong enough."
2. Now apart from faith it is impossible to be well pleasing, for he who is coming to God must believe that He is, and is becoming a Rewarder of those who are seeking Him out.
3. Now those who hear glorified God. Besides, they said to him, "You are beholding, brother, how many tens of thousands there are among the Jews who have believed, and all are inherently zealous for the law? Now they were instructed concerning you that you teach all the Jews among the nations apostasy from Moses, telling them not to be circumcising their children, nor yet to be walking in the customs.
4. Now, being turned, He said to Peter, "Go away behind Me, satan! A snare are you to Me, for you are not disposed to that which is of God, but that which is of men."
5. "Be still, and know that I am God."
6. "Still much have I to say to you, but you are not able to bear it at present.
Yet whenever that may be coming -- the spirit of truth --it will be guiding you into all the truth, for it will not be speaking from itself, but whatsoever it should be hearing will it be speaking, and of what is coming will it be informing you.
7. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
8. The spirit itself is testifying together with our spirit that we are children of God.
9. For is any of humanity acquainted with that which is human except the spirit of humanity which is in it? Thus also, that which is of God no one knows, except the spirit of God. Now we obtained, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we may be perceiving that which is being graciously given to us by God, which we are speaking also, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the spirit, matching spiritual blessings with spiritual words.
10. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may be giving you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the realization of Him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, for you to perceive what is the expectation of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of the enjoyment of His allotment among the saints.
11. But, according as it is written; that which the eye did not perceive, and the ear did not hear, and to which the heart of man did not ascend -- whatever God makes ready for those who are loving Him. Yet to us God reveals them through His spirit, for the spirit is searching all, even the depths of God.
12. For out of an installment are we knowing, and out of an installment are we prophesying. Now whenever maturity may be coming, that which is out of an installment shall be discarded. When I was a minor, I spoke as a minor, I was disposed as a minor, I took account of things as a minor. Yet when I have become a man, I have discarded that which is a minor's. For at present we are observing by means of a mirror, in an enigma, yet then, face to face. At present I know out of an installment, yet then I shall recognize according as I am recognized also.
13. On these things meditate. In these be, that your progress may be apparent to all. Attend to yourself and to the teaching. Be persisting in them, for in doing this you will save yourself as well as those hearing you.
14. So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has come new!
15. By which you who are reading are able to apprehend my understanding in the secret of the Christ, which, in other generations, is not made known to the sons of humanity as it was now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets):
16. For everyone who is partaking of milk is untried in the word of righteousness, for he is a minor. Now solid nourishment is for the mature, who, because of habit, have faculties exercised for discriminating between the ideal and the evil.
17. And this is the message which we have heard from Him and are informing you, that God is light, and darkness in Him there is none.
18. "Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. The people sitting in darkness perceived a great light, And to those sitting in the province and shadow of death, light arises for them ......For my eyes perceived Thy Salvation, Which Thou dost make ready suiting the face of all the peoples, A Light for the revelation of nations, And the Glory of Thy people Israel."