by Mike Ratliff
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23 ESV)
Spiritual blindness is truly amazing to witness. As our Lord said, “how great is the darkness!” Those in this darkness have been deceived and have been given over to their idolatry. Another tragic aspect of it is seen when they absolutely reject the clear truth from God’s Word while affirming the lies from deceitful spirits and wicked men. They also see legitimate debate on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and viewing homosexuality as acceptable in the Church as divisive and bigoted because real debate is not the same thing as dialogue. Debate confirms solid points of contention while dialogue causes them to crumble by having the sides come to a consensus. When it comes to what God has said in His Word, there is no room for dialogue. What He calls sin is sin.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11:33-36 ESV)
The lamp in v33 refers to Christ and the Good News, the Gospel. When the Gospel, Jesus Christ and Him crucified, is the focus of our ministries then it touches everything we teach and preach. When we discuss discipleship, spiritual growth, standing firm, perseverance, et cetera, we do so in light of our understanding of God’s Sovereignty in our election and salvation. In this light, we see clearly that we bring nothing of value to the table. God did not elect any of us based upon our talents or abilities or capacity to believe and obey Him. No, God did not elect a dream team. In fact, those whom He saves must become totally transformed by His grace, becoming humble and totally dependent upon Him and His grace before they are truly usable to God in the Kingdom. In this brilliant light, we put down deep roots into God’s truth by His grace. Our doctrines are His doctrines. We take hold of these truths and live by them. These who conform to this by His grace have healthy eyes and lives full of the light of God because their will is subordinate to His and they pray accordingly.
On the other hand, when the eye, the lamp of the body, is bad then these have been deceived. They are in spiritual darkness. They have believed the lie. God has given them over to their idolatry. Their whole life, the way they perceive reality is from the perspective of fallen man instead of from God’s. The thinkers within these in spiritual blindness teach according to the philosophies of men. They reason according to the temporal way of viewing the world. Many are very well educated, but they do not have God’s light. Their understanding is dark, and how great is the darkness! I have actually attempted to debate some of these, but it did not last long. Why? They were full of pride and because of their seminary educations they assumed they could dialogue me into submission. When I made it clear that I was debating not dialoging the “discussion” usually ended very quickly. Their seminary educations may have taught them a great deal, but their view of God and His truth was from a muted and dark understanding. They had no ability to properly exegete scripture. Their use of God’s Word was wooden and full of exegetical fallacies such as taking passages out of context. Because of this, the rules for debate were established on this blog. Those who want to “dialogue” here using insults, personal attacks, intimidation, colloquialisms, et cetera, but have no scriptural basis for their point(s) will not be allowed to comment here. All they can share is the fruit of a darkened heart.
“You 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 ESV)
All truly in Christ are the light of the world. They have healthy eyes which see God’s truth clearly and reject the fallacies and lies of the enemies of the Cross. As salt and light, we must stand firm and be God’s instruments in this dark age to bring His light to it. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling in order to become full of the knowledge of God that He gives us in order for us to walk through this world reflecting Christ and His light to all. This means we will be gentle and gracious yet firm and uncompromising. The world will see this light of the kingdom through our good works with the result that the Father who is in heaven will be glorified.
Much of what is called Christianity in our time is simply mass confusion rooted in subjective reasoning by those who are religious, but who know nothing of any depth of what God has given to us in His Word. Their leaders teach a mix of sentimental, man-focused, mystical nonsense that cannot be supported exegetically. I existed in a form of this from the time God saved me in 1986 until 2004. In 2004, God took me through spiritual boot camp. He drew me closer to Him starting in January more and more as He pared away those things in my life that were of man and not of Him. By August, I was in some form of worship, prayer, or Bible Study nearly all day every day. It was amazing. My eyes became full of His light. The darkness within was eradicated. I am not perfect, but the process of cleansing and repentance continues. It is amazing how entrenched our pride is. Our flesh, our propensity to sin and live as the world does, is insidious. We will not be free from this until we stand before our Lord and I look forward to that with my all.
One of the most remarkable things that God did through this was to make me completely reliant on Him instead of my own reasoning abilities. This means that God’s Word is the plumb line not my feelings or even my intuition. No, we cannot rely on these things because we are not God. Only God judges correctly. Therefore, what He says is sin is sin and that is it. Over the next several years, God has drawn me more and more into His light. When He gives us the ability to see things like election from His perspective instead of man’s then we are indeed blessed because then we see what a miracle our salvation is and then we do not take it for granted nor do we view our walk as something we do on our own terms. No, when our eyes are healthy we see God’s ways and truth very differently than those whose eyes are full of darkness.
Ken Silva has been approached by some from the emergent camp to “debate” or discuss our stand on same sex marriage and homosexuality in the Church. I have listened to what these fellows have to say about this and I know that it would be a complete waste of time for me to debate them because it would be very short. Here is what God’s Word says and that settles it, homosexuality is a sin just as murder is a sin. Sin is what separates Man from God. Christ’s substitutionary death on the Cross provided the only way to be reconciled to God and that is open only to those who believe the Gospel, repent and serve Christ as their Lord for the rest of their lives. Homosexuality is a sin that God can forgive and deliver those mired in it. We are commanded as Christians to live holy and repentant lives. We are to mortify our sins, putting them to death in order to deny our flesh, take up our crosses, and follow Christ each day. That is the true Christian walk and those who do it are able to do so because their eyes are full of God’s light and they live according to it. This light is the Gospel, the Good News, and the lamp of the body.
Soli Deo Gloria!