The Light Of The World

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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Light dispels darkness. Where there is light, darkness cannot be present. Metaphorically, Christ speaks of himself as the light of the world. This points us to the fact that there is darkness in the world. He goes on again to say whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of the world. This also means is anyone not following Christ is in the darkness which is in the world. Again, anyone who follows him has come out of the darkness of the world.

Here we see a contrast between light and darkness.

Now the ” I am the light of the world” is one of a number of “I am”  statements by Jesus  Christ recorded in John’s gospel. These “I am” statements are not a simple first person pronoun usage; rather, they point us to Christ’s divine identity and his saving relationship with sinners in a fallen world (John 4:26; 6:20; 8:28, 28, 58; 18:5). You may also be familiar with some of these specific metaphorical rendering of the “I am” statements:   “I am the bread of life, the door of the sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth, and the life and the true vine (John 6:35; 48, 51; 10:7; 11; 14, 11:25; 14:6; 15).

All these words were spoken in various contexts where they addressed specific needs ultimately pointing to our need of a Saviour.  “I am the light of the world” is an identification with divinity –Jesus is God— which we can trace back to John’s prologue : “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 … The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9).

Now if Jesus says he is the light of the world, it means that;

The World Is In Darkness.

Darkness here depicts a world of sin and ignorance; lack of knowledge of God. Darkness contrasting with light is the realm of evil; the kingdom of darkness. The whole world, Jesus said lies in wickedness (1John 5:19). In the beginning, God created a perfect world and he saw that all he made was good (Genesis 1:31). However, this perfect world was plunged into sin when Adam disobeyed God’s command subsequently inflicting the world with sin causing a separation between God and man (Romans 3:23). This darkness is a universal darkness. Every human being is affected by the effects of this dark sinful world. It is called total depravity. We are all badly hurt by the sin problem

Life Without Christ Is A Life of Darkness.

If the world is in darkness, it follows that everyone who enters it enters a world of darkness–filled with sin and ignorance of a knowledge of God. We all enter the world corrupted by a sin nature. Burk Parson in a sermon notes that “we enter the world dead on arrival.” Further, there is a kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan and any person who enters the world is automatically under the bondage of Satan and until they come to faith in Christ, they are doomed for destruction and under Satan’s rule. Paul says this clearly when he described the former world of the believer which is the present world or reality of the unbeliever. They are dead in trespasses and sins. They are following the course of the dark world which is  sin and bondage under Satan’s rule (Eph 2:1-3).

If you don’t know Christ and have no relationship with him as your Lord and Saviour, this is your world. You are dead in sin and living in darkness.

Life With Christ Is A Life of Light.

Where light is, darkness gives way. Because Jesus is the light of the world, the darkness of the world must give way. So if a person walking in darkness encounters Christ and comes to saving faith in him; they are rescued from darkness and brought into the light; the light of the world, Christ Jesus. Just as darkness depicts sin and ignorance, light represents righteousness and life. When we come to Christ who is the light of the world, our dark; sinful and ignorant life is illuminated with light, which is the life of men.

All human beings are in bondage to sin until they come to faith in Christ. Are you burdened with sin? Are you heavy laden with guilt? Christ calls you to come into his life. He will forgive you of your sins and bring life into your dark world. Come; Christ calls

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Eternal Life: God’s Gift

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For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

At the end of every month, I draw a salary from my employer for work done. That salary is my wages. I have earned it because I worked for it. My employer is not doing me a favour by paying me a salary. My salary is my reward for my service.

However, should I not be an employee of an organisation or provided a service, yet, I draw a remuneration from that organisation, it ceases to be something I deserve. It simply becomes a favour or a gift.

Nobody deserves a gift. It is given solely by the discretion of the giver.

There is, as we have seen, a clear distinction between wages and a gift. Scripture tells us death is the wages we receive for sin. It means that we deserve death. It is our wages. It is what is due us for sinning. We don’t die simply because we are human beings. Death was introduced into the human race because of sin. In the garden of Eden, our first parents disobeyed God and brought death, the consequences of their disobedience, upon the human race.

What this means is that every human being that walks the surface of the earth is a sinner deserving to die. We sin everyday reaping the wages for sin—death; not only physical death—but spiritual death separating sinners from God now and eternally.

But in contrast to what we deserve, that is, death, God extended a gift towards us. A gift which we don’t deserve and have not worked for. Instead of death, God has extended life to us freely. He sent Christ to come and die to reverse the effect of separation between sinners and God. Christ’s death was a gift to the world to be reconciled to God now and eternally. In Christ Jesus, God has made a way of escape from the death we deserve.

God has offered us a gift of salvation through Christ which if we receive in faith, reconciles us to Himself and gives us eternal life.

Christians Believe In An Afterlife:Heaven And Hell

When people become successful in any field of endeavour, their words and lives carry influence. When they speak, people listen; whether they are right or wrong.

Recently, former CEO of UT Bank, Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng has been in the news for views he expressed in an interview granted an Accra-based radio station. Among some of the views he expressed is his unbelief in an afterlife — heaven and hell. Mr Amoabeng is a successful man, no doubt about that. He carries influence. It is for this very reason I am writing this article. Because of his influence, his words can mislead people who look up to him.

He is quoted to have said:

…although [I] was a Christian who believed in God, the concept of the afterlife was difficult for him to accept…“I believe in God, I believe there is a creator; if you don’t like, call it nature but for me as a Christian, it’s God. “…I go to church once in a long while, when there is a wedding or a funeral. I don’t believe in the afterlife, I believe that you have to do what is right and that your heaven and earth is here, I don’t think there is anything anywhere.”

If Mr. Amoabeng indeed spoke these words, then it is obvious, judging from what it means to be a Christian that his claims to be a Christian can be questioned. He can be moral. He can be philanthropic. He can be a successful business man, but if what he believes contradicts with the Bible, then his beliefs are in error. Now to guard myself against subjectively denying Mr. Amoabeng’s confession of Christianity, let me walk through his own words to point out that his Christian faith is questionable.

1: Christians Believe In An AfterLife.

I don’t believe in the afterlife, I believe that you have to do what is right and that your heaven and earth is here, I don’t think there is anything anywhere.

I do sympathise with Mr. Amoabeng when he was quoted to have said  “the concept of the afterlife was difficult for him to accept.” He is certainly not alone in this struggle. Christians do struggle with various aspects of the faith. But our struggles doesn’t define the truth. The truth must rather resolve our struggles. Our struggles therefore doesn’t permit us to doubt or call into question what the bible clearly teaches.

“Afterlife” is a core, foundational, fundamental christian doctrine. Without it, Christianity crumbles.  Christianity without an afterlife– eternal life and damnation — is a contradiction. Christians believe in an afterlife. It is safe to say that anyone who doesn’t believe in an afterlife is not a Christian. The Bible explicitly teaches about the afterlife. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  Denying an afterlife is not a problem of modern humankind. It dates back to first century Christianity. Paul addressed this issue which strikes at the core of Christianity. There were those who denied the resurrection and Paul wrote to address this.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.(1Corinthians 15:12-19).

This is one of the many places in the Bible an afterlife is addressed. In verse 19, Paul addressed the assertion or belief that “your heaven and earth is here”. The Bible doesn’t teach that at all. Paul says “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied”. If all of our hopes as Christians is for the here and now, then clearly we are to be pitied because we have believed in a lie. When Jesus spoke about faith in Him for eternal life, an afterlife was explicit(John 3:16). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

“eternal life” clearly teaches a life after death. Whether we believe it or not, the Bible teaches an afterlife where we get to spend life in eternity with God in heaven or in hell separated from God for our sins.

2: Belief In God Doesn’t Make A Christian.

 I believe in God, I believe there is a creator; if you don’t like, call it nature but for me as a Christian, it’s God”.

A Christian must of necessity believe in God. But believing in God and the existence of a Creator makes nobody a Christian. If believing in God makes a Christian, then the devil is a Christian: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe— and shudder!”(James 2:19).

3: Church Attendance/Membership Doesn’t Make A Christian

I go to church once in a long while, when there is a wedding or a funeral

This doesn’t even qualify to be termed “church attendance”. Attending a wedding or funeral is not the same as church attendance. More so, attending “once in a long while”. Attending church or holding church membership doesn’t mean a person is a Christian. People grow up in church, they sit on boards and committees, but they are far away from the kingdom. If regular church attendance doesn’t necessarily make a Christian, how much more casual attendance?

Now that said, church attendance for a Christian is also a command and where a person attends occassionaly, we have cause to question their faith. I admit people find themselves in situations where they might miss church once a while, but whatever situation necessitates this, a person must quickly find ways to resolve it. Church attendance is biblical and a command. You cannot be a Christian and habitually miss church. Christianity is communal and christian faithfulness, maturity and growth occurs in the context of Christian fellowship. Not to love the association of fellow believers will be a sure sign we are not regenerated(Hebrews 10:23-25, Acts 2:42-44).vbme0568

In matters of faith, we allow the Bible to speak and not what “celebrities” or influential people in society say. An afterlife is a reality explicitly taught by Scriptures and anyone who denys it has no right to be called a Christian. When we die, we either spend eternity with God in heaven or we are banished away from Him into the lake of unquenchable fire-hell- for our sins-