LIGHT, LOVE, JOY
BY: JAN A. ANTONSSON
NOVEMBER 30, 2014
The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway
“And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light” (Gen. 1:3).
Eons before any of us were born, as God was laying the foundations of the blue-green planet we call home, “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Why were they joyful? The text doesn’t say, but I believe that they were full of joy and wonderment that God had made a man in His own image and likeness, and had placed him in a wondrous garden, watered by four rivers, and had given His handiwork power over the plants and animals. The text does say that when God had finished the task of creating the earth and everything on it and in it, He called His handiwork, “Very good!” (Gen. 1:31).
Time flowed on, as this beautiful living oasis sailed through the inky black darkness of space on its projected orbit around the great light God had placed in the heavens above it. People call this light “the sun,” but it could just as well be called, “the son,” for “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4).
The ages rolled away and in the fullness of time, Christ, the only begotten of the Father, was born to a virgin who had been impregnated by the very seed of God. This child, who was both human and divine, came to give Light and Love and Joy to every man and woman who ever lived (John 1:9). He was pure goodness in the midst of a religious culture which had turned the perfect Law God gave them into a toxic stew of judgment and legalism. The world was very dark indeed, when this Child of the living God, the firstborn of many brethren, came into it. People doing evil deeds seek the darkness, and many do not welcome any glimmer of light. So, predictably, they killed Him.
God was in Christ on the cross, not counting our sins against us, reconciling us back to Himself (II Cor. 5:19). It wasn’t His wrath toward us which separated us from Him. It was our wrath toward Him, which put Christ on the cross, our voices which cried, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” but God’s unconditional love empowered Him to give His life for ours. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2).
Jesus came to be the bridge between the messy darkness inhabited by men, and the glorious Light who was His Father and our Father. Men were angry at God and His rules, because even though they were loath to admit it, they could never keep them, not even for a little while. They were angry at Him because He had clearly made the rules too hard to keep. They blamed Him for their own disobedience, and gleefully seized the opportunity to have the Roman Government kill Him. That would be the end of that, they thought.
When He died a criminal’s death, the sun was darkened and the veil in the temple was rent in twain (Luke 23:45). The wondrous result was that the “Holy of Holies,” wherein God dwelt (Ex. 25:22; I Sam. 4:4), was made available for everyone. When He arose from the dead, he set the captives free (Eph. 4:8). The glorious outcome of His sacrifice, was the Atonement of sin for all: lawyers, beggars, thieves, drug addicts, hypocrites, whores and everyone else. Salvation was gifted to the “whole world” (I John 2:2): to all men, living and dead, all the way back to Adam, whose disobedience began the reign of terror and tribulation that afflicted all mankind. The thorns and thistles that plagued him, continued to plague every one of his progeny until all disobedience and, wonder of wonders, even the Law itself, which no one could keep, was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:13). “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13).
With such good news, how could anyone not rejoice? How could anyone not embrace the Light, feel the Love, and shout for Joy? Job knew a lot about this tendency in human nature, which ascribes blame for disobedience to someone, anyone else, and threatens punishment for any infraction of the rules. His comforters sat with him for seven days without saying anything, but then, they added to the horrific pain and anguish that his physical condition had left him in, by telling him that he clearly was being punished for his sins. Imagine saying that to the man whom God had called “perfect” (Job 1:8).
Job’s problem was the same as some have today, who listen to horrific character assassinations of our Father. They say He poured out His wrath on Jesus on the cross, when really the Father was there IN the Son. The truth is: God IS LOVE! (I John 4:8, 16). After 41 horrific chapters, Job said to God, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 41:5-6). Of what did he repent? I believe it is that he listened to the voices of Pharisees who declared themselves righteous by pretending to keep the rules. He listened to them twist the truth about God. It wasn’t until he experienced God in person, that he understood the difference between Law and grace, between love and punishment.
Men are still doing that today. Do you believe God is full of wrath, just waiting to pounce on you if you disobey, or do you believe what countless scriptures and multitudes of personal experiences attest, that HE IS LOVE?
The only way to know He is love, is to feel it yourself. If you haven’t felt it, you can’t know it at a cellular level. If your eye is single (fixed on God only), your whole body is full of light, but if your vision is double (seeing a two power universe), your body is full of darkness and how great is that darkness (Lk. 11:34).
Fear is a dreadful taskmaster, punishing you for real and imagined wrongs, with no way out of the long, dark tunnel. I lived with fear in the shadows of my soul for many decades, until the Spirit shined His light on I John 4:18. “Perfect love casts out fear.” Here’s the Phillip’s version: “Love contains no fear; indeed fully-developed love expels every particle of fear, for fear always contains some of the torture of feeling guilty. The man who lives in fear has not yet had his love perfected.”
I grew up fearing God, thinking He would throw me into hell for the least infraction of the rules. Then, I met Jesus, up close and personal. He gave me a vision of Himself on the cross, dying for me. I cried and laughed, and soared in the heavenly joy of His salvation, and not for me only, but for the sins of the whole world. We all are children of God, and like Mary, we are infused by His Spirit with His very DNA. He is our Father, our Daddy, our Abba, our best friend, and He will never cease nor slumber until all the lost sheep are found, and all are brought out of the darkness into the marvelous light of His glorious Presence. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6).
Father, we worship and adore you, fall down before you in worship and praise, LOVE and JOY, because You have reckoned us righteous and called us Your children. You have restored us to the Garden where we walk with You and talk with You, and call You friend. With all the angels around your throne, we joyfully shout, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Amen.