Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::
The Lord Jesus declared in John chapter 8, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” What is it to walk in darkness? We all likely have our own set of mental images that are initiated by such a question. But the darkness that may be blinding us today may not be so obviously evil or sinister as you might think.
Colossians reveals that anything…even any GOOD thing…that occupies us that is not Christ Himself is likely an instrument of the authority of darkness. I think what’s interesting about the authority of darkness mentioned in Colossians are the kind of things that Paul specifically referred to as being components of this darkness. Because they are things that are not that obvious in terms of being related to darkness.
We need a renewed understanding of this expression, “the authority of darkness”…as employed by Paul in Colossians. Of course the authority of darkness is the realm where Satan rules, and all manner of evil things are involved in the satanic realm. So there is no question that the authority of darkness has to do with the rule of Satan and is related to the kingdom of Satan.
Our problem is that we may assume that in Colossians the expression “the authority of darkness” refers only to obviously evil things…demonic, satanic, devilish things that would subjugate and imprison us. But this is too narrow an understanding. And actually, if we bring in this narrow understanding to Colossians, we will miss the point. And I mean really miss the whole point that is being made here.
Colossians is a book that reveals in the highest way the all-inclusiveness of Christ. The centrality and universality of Christ in God’s economy. This is the foundational thought. More particularly, Colossians reveals that in God’s economy, Christ is the reality of every positive thing. Christ is all things. The authority of darkness then…in its particular application in this epistle…refers to anything that is not Christ and that controls our being…instead of God’s direct rule in Christ.
Authority has to do with control, and to be under the authority or darkness is to be controlled by darkness. According to the context of the book of Colossians, what are some of the aspects of this authority of darkness? Philosophy is one. Asceticism is another one. A certain kind of self-imposed humility is yet another. There’s a form of religious mysticism that was advocated here.
Then speaking more broadly…any element of culture that infiltrates the church and replaces Christ is an aspect of the authority of darkness. If we go even deeper, we may say according to the revelation in the Word that any control that has its source in the self is the authority of darkness controlling us. The self replaces Christ. That’s why the Lord said if we would follow Him we have to deny the self.
Yes the authority of darkness refers to the satanic realm of darkness. In Colossians, the authority of darkness refers particularly to those things of religion, culture, and philosophy that have invaded our christian life and church life that replace Christ and that exercise control over our being instead of Christ.
Therefore, to be delivered by God in His full salvation out of the authority of darkness is to be delivered not only from sin and evil and hateful things…immoral things. It is to be delivered also from anything…no matter how good it may appear that replaces Christ and rules over us instead of Christ. This is a real light. Strangely, to see what darkness is here involves a real light. And we desire very much on the Lord’s behalf that all of God’s children would be delivered as we look to the Lord to be delivered from anything and everything of philosophy, religion and culture that replaces Christ and that rules us and controls us instead of Christ.
According to the revelation in Colossians, we should be ruled, controlled, governed, and directed by the one whom Paul calls “the Son of God’s love.” In a realm of light. And in this realm we enjoy not only the grace of God but also the all inclusiveness of Christ. A Christ who is everything and a Christ who is our life. And it is with this in view that we need to consider as our dear brother has helped us to see that the authority of darkness includes philosophy, religion, culture, and at the deepest level anything that has its source in the self.
In short…anything that replaces Christ. Any part of our being that is occupied by something other than Christ is under the authority of darkness. So we need the Christ who is everything in Himself and in God’s economy to become everything not only to us…but in us. And only when that has happened will we have been fully delivered experientially from the authority of darkness.
But we believe such a time is coming, and we look to the Lord that He will bless this faithful word concerning the authority of darkness verses the all-inclusive Christ. And that God’s people…especially the seeking ones among God’s people will really be enlightened and delivered and begin to explore the Christ who is the centrality and universality of God’s economy…that is the Christ of Colossians.
Some may read Colossians and have little interest in some of the marvelous utterances that Paul uses to unveil Christ, but when they get to the chapters about wives submitting to their husbands and husbands loving their wives…slaves obeying their masters…parents taking care of their children…they appreciate this. That appreciation is an appreciation in darkness. That kind of thought is already in the minds of the readers.And so that’s what they respond to in the text.
The Bible is light, but we may not be in light when we read the Bible. We ourselves may be in darkness. We may be veiled. We may be blind. In fact that is the general condition. And so the more we read, the more blind we become. Because we read in darkness and we read and try to understand in our pitiful blindness instead of repenting before the Lord…turning our heart to the Lord…emptying out our spirit…being poor in spirit…and contacting the Spirit of the Word and seeing Christ in the Word.
We want to speak faithfully, honestly and even frankly about this matter. But we don’t care to argue…to dispute. What’s the benefit? If one is in darkness and someone else is in light what is the point of dispute. What is needed is for the light to shine upon the one in darkness.
When Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the believers…destroying the churches…who could reason with him? Who could argue with him? What would be the point? God did not take that approach. The Lord shined on him and shattered his reasoning and showed him he really was blind and he became physically blind for a period of time. But then he really saw Christ.
This is where we are today. And if we receive mercy from the Lord, if we would not go around saying “how clear we are”…”how much we see.” Rather, if we would be like blind Bartimaeus saying “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then we’ll begin to appreciate not ethical expressions (or what we would take as ethical expressions in Colossians)…rather we would appreciate Christ.
To what extent do christians today really care for Christ? What do christians care about? What do they talk about? What do they argue about? What do they promote? All manner of things. Where is the Christ unveiled in Colossians? Where is this Christ proclaimed? Where is He experienced? Where is He expressed?
So this Christ is in Colossians, but the authority of darkness must be smashed in our being. Then the Christ in Colossians will become the Christ in our experience. There is no word to describe how precious…even how life changing this is.