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The new resolution is Light

The new resolution is Light

New year’s resolutions

We all desperately seek purpose. It’s why we make New Year’s Resolutions every year. It’s why we get so passionate about hobbies and careers. We were born to have value and create worth. But make no mistake, without Jesus Christ one will never experience purpose. We can chase it with our whole heart but it will continue to elude our pursuit. Deciding to transform our eating, exercise or reading habits at the beginning of every year are fine resolutions, but they won’t ultimately satisfy what our heart needs.

The purpose of life – from the mountains, trees and oceans, to every animal and person on the earth – is to declare the light of the glory of God. It was why everything was made and what everything was made for. I’m not talking about the kind of light that helps you see when the power goes out. I’m talking about the kind of illuminating life-altering power that casts hope into a world of despair.

Anyone or anything which communicates that creation exists for our own desires is veiled from seeing the truth. Christ is the most glorious treasure – a treasure which transforms our diseased and selfish hearts with eternal hope. I call this veil the Gospel Of Man. It places our own dreams and feelings at the center of our truth.

Christ is the light

Jesus Christ is the light of man. He existed eternally before the universe was created and he is the singular reason everything was made. Every fiber of life reflects this purpose – to give Jesus all the glory of creation. Every thought or word that is contrary to this purpose must be held against the Word of God, which is Christ, and shone to be evil.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he also created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:1-2

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

Creation proclaims Christ

“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters” Psalm 29:3

John Calvin speaks on Psalm 29: “there is nothing in the ordinary course of nature, throughout the whole frame of heaven and earth, which does not invite us to the contemplation of God.” In Romans 1:18-32 Paul describes how God’s glory and attributes have been evident since the dawn of creation so that all are without excuse. To deny the existence of God is to suppress the truth which is plainly evident around us all. It is to be veiled.

“Who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:18b-20

Creation reflects the masterful craftsmanship and sovereignty of God. It’s filled throughout the Psalms, Job, Isaiah and Revelation and more. I grew up believing God did not have a hand in the ordinary moments of life and that he was only concerned with the big things. This could not be more contrary to Scripture. Every detail points to the light of the glory of God. It is God who controls all things, from the most minute of details of life to the most extravagant. And like Calvin’s annotation, we are constantly surrounded by living proof of the light of God that is worthy of our admiration and praise.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,

    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,

    or let the fish in the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know

    that the hand of the Lord has done this?” Job 12:7-9

“Listen to this, Job;

    stop and consider God’s wonders.

Do you know how God controls the clouds

    and makes his lightning flash?” Job 37:14-15

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-5

Blinded and veiled

So if Christ is the light of the universe and every detail of existence points back to him, why do we not see him?

We are blind.

Our hearts are being polluted with evil passions from within our corrupted nature. We are born with a broken and rebellious will that inclines towards sin at every opportunity. Satan, the father of our rebellious nature, and his demons are constantly trying to blind us with deceitful desires from seeing the truth of Christ’s light. These deceitful desires veil our hearts so that even though all of the universe reflects God’s glory, we are unable to see this glory or God.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

How to see the light

Jesus Christ is the light of man. Only by the grace and call of God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit is the veil of darkness removed from our eyes.

“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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-17

We see David’s desperation for his heart to see God’s light all throughout the Psalms. He prays three times in Psalm 80:

“Restore us, O God;
    let your face shine, that we
        may be saved!” Psalm 80:3

Only with unveiled hearts can we see God’s glory and have our hearts and wills transformed. An untransformed heart is filled with deceitful desires that render us spiritually dead to the light of Christ and God’s glory. To these evil, self-sustaining and selfish desires we must die. And when we receive a new heart, what Paul calls a new self, we behold the light of Christ, the glory of God’s creation.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

The reality and the truth

“And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out by God.” John 3:19-21

God sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to separate the light from the darkness. While we are all surrounded by the glory of God through his creation we are veiled, blinded and dead in our sin. Christ came as the truth and the light of God. Like his audience 2000 years ago, we respond to the glory of God’s creation and the preached Gospel of God by either:

1. Loving the glory, beauty and light of Christ, or

2. Treasuring the selfishness, riches and darkness of the world.

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:9-13

This is what life is all about. We either join in with the call of creation in proclaiming the light of Christ or we live purposeless and unfulfilled under the dominion of darkness. Our eyes either see the light or are blinded by darkness.

We were made to be bearers of light, having been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That is our purpose. In Christ our hearts are restored to see that which we were made to do: become a participant within the purpose of all things – proclaiming his light through every career move, spoken word or formed thought.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“You [Christians] are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that  they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

The call to the light

I close with a reminder from 1 John and a prayer through this word that every reader would hear the call of God through the Holy Spirit and see the light of the glory of Jesus Christ. Apart from this eternal purpose there is only darkness.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we 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 his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-10

Christmas wasn't the backup plan

Christmas wasn't the backup plan