You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
A Christian isn’t merely a person who follows a certain moral standard or believes particular doctrines. That’s part of it, of course. But a Christian is a person in whom Jesus Christ, the light of the world, lives. That’s why Jesus told His followers, “You are the light of the world” (5:14).
Light of the World
This statement implies that the world is in a state of darkness, and this is indeed the teaching of the Bible from start to finish. Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus, “I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light” (see Acts 26:17–18). Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). As the light of the world, the church brings God’s light into this otherwise spiritually and morally dark world.
Light exposes what occurs in the darkness. When the Bible speaks of darkness in the moral sense, it’s a synonym for evil, and it is often under the cover of darkness that evil deeds are done. The light of God’s truth exposes the evil deeds of darkness.
Light Exposes and Expels Darkness
When I was a kid and spent a night at the house of some friends, we went into the kitchen late at night for a snack. As we flicked on the light, I saw what seemed to be about 10,000 cockroaches on the counters, on the floor, everywhere. We had no idea there was a roach party going on in that darkness until we turned on the light. The light exposed those evil roaches!
Light also expels darkness. The second somebody turns on a switch in a pitch-dark room, flash! The darkness is gone. Because light expels darkness, it brings sight.
I once attended a conference in South Africa at a primitive bush camp. The place was pretty spread out and you needed to walk from the sleeping area to the eating area to the meeting area. We were all given a flashlight so we could make our way from place to place at night. I forgot my flashlight that first night, and as I stepped out after the meeting to head back to my room, only about fifteen steps out I found myself in the deepest darkness I had ever been in. Thankfully, I was able to trace my steps back to the meeting hall, but I could never have made it back to my room. Thank God, somebody came to the rescue and shared a flashlight with me. The light expelled the darkness and enabled me to see.
Light of God’s Word
As Christians indwelt by Christ, we have the source of light within us by which people in this dark world can see. The psalmist said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV). Through the indwelling Christ, the living Word of God, the humblest believer can know more about reality than the world’s greatest atheistic philosopher, and that life can light the path for those in darkness to make their way into the light.
Antony Flew, one of the world’s leading philosophical atheists who later came to believe in the existence of God, was in many regards a brilliant man. But as I read his biography, it astounded me how such an intelligent man could have held on to such irrational ideas for so long. It was very late in life that he finally forsook his atheism. That change of mind was partially due to the influence of Christians who befriended him.
Light of God’s Truth
The light of God’s truth, alive in His people, shines in the world and in people’s lives and exposes what hides in the darkness. As the light comes in, it expels the darkness from people’s lives and enables them to see what they couldn’t see in the dark. So many individuals describe their conversion experience by saying, “I see everything so clearly now.” They’ve come out of darkness and into the light.