Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The darkness of sin (1 Peter 2:10)

The people to whom Peter was writing at one time were not converted. Peter says in verse 9 that they were then in darkness. What he has in mind is spiritual darkness. The imagery of darkness perhaps does not come with force to those of us who have never been in complete darkness because of electric lights or even moonlight. But imagine being in a dark cellar, without even a crack in the walls to let in a momentary gleam of light. If we shift that picture over to our spiritual state, it means that we cannot see the reality of who we are, where we are, and where we are heading. 

What is it like to be spiritually in the dark? Perhaps it is best to make some suggestions as to what it does not mean. It does not mean that we cannot understand the Bible in an intellectual sense (many people can tell the message of the Bible, but it makes no impression on them apart from in a cultural way, such as when they enjoy singing Psalm 23 without knowing the real truth of the psalm). Nor does it mean that we will not engage in religious activities (many people pray frequently or give alms or engage in spiritual retreats and remain in spiritual darkness).

Spiritual darkness does not only describe atheists or outrageous sinners, it also includes religious and cultured individuals. A spiritually dark person is someone who has never experienced the light of the gospel shining in their minds and heart. Such an individual does not see the wonder of grace, the beauty of Jesus, the prospect of heaven. Instead they prefer not to serve him, to persist in a life of rebellion against him. 

How does light come into their experience? There are two ways of answering this question and both are correct. The first answer is that the Holy Spirit works secretly to bring light into our souls; the second answer is that light comes to us through the gospel. We hear the story of what happened to Jesus and find our hearts are attracted to him. This attraction may be gradual or sudden. Further we begin to understand the gospel message and what once seemed foolishness now becomes sensible. Again, this understanding may be gradual or sudden. The gospel calls us to faith in Jesus, a warm embrace of him by our souls which is accompanied by repentance for our sins. This is the way out of spiritual darkness. 

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