The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Light and life

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My father, Austin Walker, is in the United States at the moment.  He will be lecturing later today, God willing, at a conference at the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies on The English Baptists of the 17th Century. His paper is entitled Benjamin Keach and the Protestant Cause Under Persecution and it’s good, stirring stuff.

In his absence I had the whole day here at Crawley last Lord’s day, but – because we are on a summer break from our Sunday School – only had two services.

In the first, I preached from John 12.36 under the title While there is light.  I was disappointed that there were fewer unconverted people present than is often the case, but preached nonetheless from Christ’s earnest warning and invitation to those in danger of being utterly lost in spiritual darkness.  This is issued as his death approaches, and in the face of continuing confusion and resistance to his person and work.

Our Lord identifies a precious privilege: “you have the light.” The light was shining upon the Jews in the person of Christ Jesus, and shines still upon us in the gospel read and preached and heard under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

This is a passing opportunity: “while you have the light.” The gospel is not an inalienable right but a gracious gift. Bibles, preachers, capacity of mind and body to hear the truth, days of life in which to respond – none are guaranteed to us. This demands an urgent and immediate response.

Christ also issues a gracious command: “believe in the light.” We are called to trust in the Lord Jesus in all the fullness of his glorious person and saving work. Not to believe is to disobey, but the reality of the gospel command is also a great blessing and encouragement to the fearful.

Christ explains the gracious result of believing: “that you may become sons of light.” In Christ by faith, we are characterised by light: we live in it, love it, walk in it and shine with it. This is the instant and final change of nature, from darkness to light, associated with faith in Christ.

Finally, though, and soberingly, there is a grievous warning. Many of those who heard Jesus’ words resisted the message and rejected his person. He is light, but some choose darkness. Which will you have?

In the evening I continued through Colossians, preaching on being Rooted and rejoicing in Christ.  Paul uses verses 6 and 7 of Colossians 2 as a summary and a springboard for what is to come. He speaks of receiving Christ and then walking in him, and describes what it means so to walk.  He mixes his metaphors as a means of communicating the richness of this notion.

There is stability and solidity: we are rooted in Christ, anchored in him, drawing life and nourishment from him. We are built up in Christ, held together by him as a community, and making progress in dependence upon him.

Walking in Christ, we enjoy increasingly strong and settled faith. It grows as we are established in the apostolic faith in which we are instructed. We need no bigger and better saviours, but rather a bigger heart to love Christ Jesus, and a better grasp on who he is and what he has done.

These issue in and involve a sincere thankfulness. Gratitude to God for all his kindnesses to us in Jesus keep the saint in a spiritually healthy and happy condition, humbly looking away from self to the God of salvation. These blessings are ours insofar as we receive and rest upon Christ Jesus the Lord.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 26 August 2008 at 12:34

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