Sinful man’s rebellion against God dates back to the Garden of Eden (Gen 3). The serpent’s (Satan) temptation was for man to usurp the position of God (Gen 3:5), and man has been playing god (rule and authority) ever since. Ironically, the deceiver promised deity to Adam and Eve, only to steal the very dominion God had entrusted to man. For this reason, Jesus called Satan, “the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).”
As the prince of darkness and dark lord over the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), Satan’s quest is to keep men in the dark regarding the kingdom of God (2 Cor 4:4). Thus, the kingdom of this world is filled with endless distractions to occupy the thoughts and affections of those subject to the devil’s schemes. The children of the devil love the darkness because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19; 1 Jn 3:10). In fact, every inclination of the unregenerate heart is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
Puffed up with knowledge in the ways of the world, the practical atheist lusts for elusive and rather temporary satisfactions. He pursues money and possessions in rivalry with his neighbor (Eccl 4:4). He loves the fallen, sinful world and the games people play. He wants to stay in this world because he has been given enough information about the world to come. He is terrified of death and God’s judgment to follow (Heb 9:27).
The kingdom of this world is doomed, even as a man’s own death looms. The material world is temporal, and entropy never ceases to warn the worldling. The end is near.
Jesus is prophetically called, “the sun of righteousness (Mic 4:2).” As the bright and morning star (2 Pet 1:19; Rev 22:16), Jesus Christ is the light of the world breaking into the darkness like the morning light (Jn 8:12). His light is marvelous (1 Pet 2:9) because of its many attributes. Still, He shines, but blinded men cannot comprehend His glory (Jn 1:9; 2 Cor 4:4). To see Jesus, one must have eyes that see (Jn 9).
Every man is born blind, spiritually. No one can see the truth, as it is in Jesus (Eph 4:21), unless Jesus opens the eyes and removes the blindness. When this miracle occurs, the renewed mind fixes the eyes of the saint to be upon Jesus (Heb 12:2). The things of the Spirit suddenly abound (1 Cor 2:15).
Jesus is exalted in both name and position. He has the name above every other name (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9), and He is seated on the throne of God at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:33). Like the sun, Jesus is the only way to see the reality of all things that are from Him. Like the sun, Jesus warms the affections by pouring out the love of God into our hearts (Rom 5:5). Christians are filled with light and love sourced in God and sent by the Son in the Person of the Spirit.
The Spirit illumines the Word for the benefit of those He baptized and indwells (Mt 3:11; Jn 14:26; 17:17; Acts 2:38; 11:16). He causes the recipient of the Word of truth to see and understand the truth. This is the enlightenment, not as the world provides — a false light upon a lie posing as truth — but as a clear message of good news from God to be believed.
The Spirit teaches that righteousness (right standing before God) can only be imputed by God into the life of the elect, redeemed, and reconciled soul.
In the Old Testament, Jesus is foreseen with the title, “The Lord our Righteousness (Jer 23:6).” It is only by the meritorious work of the God-man that any man can be right in the presence of the Holy God. The elect, redeemed are justified by His precious blood (Rom 5:9; 1 Pet 1:19). No one has a righteousness of his own doing; but by God’s doing, justified sinners are in the position of righteousness labeled, “in Christ (1 Cor 1:30).”
In Christ Jesus, our Lord, light shines and gives life to those given eyes to see that the life-giving Spirit has taken up permanent residence in the converted sinner (Jn 14:17; 1 Jn 3:24; 4:13). The transformed sinner is born again of the Spirit and is labeled, “saint.” He is set apart as one who has been declared righteous and who is now being conformed to the state and likeness of the one and only righteous One (Rom 8:29).
As the Spirit shines brighter and brighter, the saints are luminaries of the righteous One who occupies each one. He alone is just and justifies the ungodly to become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). There is only one sun to give light and life to the earth, and there is only One sun of righteousness to shine in chosen vessels to be seen by men in the world (Mt 5:16).
The natural man rejects the revelation of this alien righteousness, exclusively imputed to vessels of mercy being prepared for glory. Without the Spirit of God, this man is without faith, and without faith he is without hope in the world (Jn 10:26; Rom 8:9; Eph 2:12). Satan convinces sinners to work out their salvation by working works of righteousness that never justify them before God, who judges with perfect justice. The ungodly are the reprobate from eternity, who do not belong to Christ Jesus (Jn 10:26; Rom 8:9), who never received them from God the Father (Jn 6:37), who blotted their names from the book of life in eternity (Dt 29:20; 2 Kgs 14:27; Ps 9:5; 109:13).
If you are right before God, today, we can only credit the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. He secured it with His perfect, active (sinless life) and passive obedience (substitutionary atonement). He dispenses it, by sending His Spirit to gather the members of His church into His body, as chosen citizens of His holy nation, the Israel of God, for whom He died, as an act of divine love that will surely be the talk of the town, New Jerusalem, the heavenly Zion, and city of light, forever.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 4, 2022