Matthew 6:22-23: The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
The Sermon on the Mount is certainly the greatest sermon ever preached. Within the three chapters of Matthew 5-7 are the foundational building blocks of the entire kingdom plan of God as it relates to the church and the framework of the apostolic Christian life. Every major issue of a Christian lifestyle in the church is discussed by Christ. In pointed fashion Christ covered all the bases by presenting not only concepts but a lifestyle that transcended what Judaism taught or offered. For the orthodox worshiper of Judaism to be faithful, one only needed an intellectual assent that the law must be faithfully obeyed and the works of the law strictly enforced in order for IT to be profitable. While never directly injuring the religion of the Jews or taking away from the law, Jesus emphatically exposed the weakness and over all futility of the law-keeper’s religion by teaching the inner principles of a life of humility of the heart. He dealt with the invisible, intangible aspects of the law by addressing the human spirit or the spirit of the law. Later, as these principles were taught by the apostles in their epistles to the churches, it was, and is, rightfully branded the Law of Christ.
Right in the middle of this powerful sermon, Jesus introduces his audience to what was no doubt yet another foreign concept which required spiritual insight. True to His fashion, Christ simply, in two short verses, introduces the principle of deep spiritual darkness and continues on to another issue.
In verses 22-23 of chapter 6, Jesus states; The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light. 23; But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
With the church in view, along with godly Christian living, Jesus talks about the light in thee. At other times in His earthly ministry, Christ claims, I am the light of the world. (John 8:12 & 9:5.) Understanding the experience of Acts chapter 2, we know assuredly that the light (which was Christ) that Jesus taught his disciples to follow while He ministered on earth is the light we now have dwelling within our hearts.
(Colossians 1 :27) This light is obviously a spiritual experience. In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter says that we, being a peculiar people, ought to show forth the praises of Him who brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Consequently, the regeneration of a man at the initial infilling of the Holy Ghost is not only the spiritual equivalent of the light being turned on inwardly, but now a vessel is provided for the light to operate through. The man himself is ultimately transformed into a light bearer. Through divine prerogative, God uses this attribute of light to represent His Spirit dealing within our human spirit.
This light, when allowed to be utilized to its fullest capabilities, opens new vistas for the inward man.
It reveals all the attributes and perfections of God that once were hidden to us. (2 Corinthians 4:3)
This light imparts spiritual revelation, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, power, faith and so much more of the attributes of God that produce godly living.
The light is contrasted with darkness. The this as total darkness, i.e., the absence of all most obvious question when offering up the spiritual concept of a second dimension of spiritual darkness or a deeper realm of spiritual depravity is, “What is the first dimension?” The nature of sin that every man is born with is inherently handed to us by the first man, Adam. This very curse of sin that initially separated man from God has been passed down to every man since. This separation is commonly viewed in scripture as spiritual darkness. This curse of spiritual darkness is portrayed in the next to the last plague of Egypt. After the plague of darkness comes death. In Exodus 10: 21-23 the darkness is described as being a “thick darkness” that could be felt. God did not curse them with nighttime, but with a paralyzing darkness that transcended the natural darkness of night.
The inventions, and thus interventions, of the natural man were futile. No man could see another man nor could any man even follow through on the simplest task of getting out of bed. This darkness shut down the entire economy of the most powerful nation on earth (at that time) for three days. Analyzing this action we understand clearly that what God reveals in the natural realm is connected to what is occurring in the spiritual realm. Oh, the power of darkness!
I have vivid childhood memories of family reunion trips to Austin, Texas. Outside of Austin, in Burnett, Texas, are a number of caverns tucked away in that beautiful hill country. Many times we enjoyed tours through the caverns. Longhorn cavern in Burnett was a special treat. After descending one mile underground, the tour guide would stop the visitors in a large flat opening. The lights of the cavern would then be shut off. The guide would dutifully announce that because we were one mile underground and because no cracks or crevices were available, it was impossible for even a ray of light to exist. We would be informed that scientists describe light. Six weeks or more in total darkness could
leave a person legally blind. The cavern also produced a reservoir further into the depths of the rock. In that reservoir are fish that normally lose the film that covers their eyes at birth, early in development. Howbeit, due to the lack of any light whatsoever, the film never falls away. it is light that takes this tissue away. As a result, in time, the tissue hardens and simply becomes part of the exterior of the fish. All fish in the reservoir live out their entire existence in perpetual blindness.
How much more is man, being a spiritual creature and born into this chaotic spiritual darkness, and having no ability within himself to find God or discover divine spiritual understanding, is thus in blind darkness. In John 1:5 we see the blindness of man’s heart that is a result of this crippling darkness; And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The dark abyss of hell is described many ways, one being a place of outer darkness. The word “outer” means beyond. So, hell is darkness beyond dark. The light from those eternal flames will be swallowed up by the prevailing eternal darkness. Equal to, if not worse than the tormenting heat of the flames, will be that ongoing and residual eternal darkness.
Certainly much more could be mentioned regarding man’s wanderings in the landscape of spiritual darkness from birth. Howbeit, time and space prevent a deeper expositive effort here. Suffice it to say, the first dimension of darkness is what man is born into. Thank God for the day He shined the light of this gospel into our hearts. Show forth the praises of God, for indeed He hath brought us … out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
The astounding precept of Matthew 6:23 opens our eyes to a deeper spiritual abyss that, while very disturbing, also is superbly enlightening. It explains the realm of deep depravity that causes God to give a person over to a reprobate mind or that leads a person into apostasy. Jesus said plainly, if the light that is in thee be darkness, or, “if the light of this gospel ever goes out or becomes darkness AGAIN, how great is THAT darkness.” In a more explicit sense: How great is THAT KIND OF DARKNESS!
Certainly Christ is opening the floodgates of our spiritual reservoirs that we may comprehend the spiritual status of the different dimensions of spiritual depravity. He that hath an ear let him hear … Revelation 3:6. The consideration of the possibility of the light becoming dark again thoroughly disarms the theological theory of eternal security. Darkness is the antithesis of light. How can God eternally secure the individual whose light has evaporated or become dark again? How great is THA T DARKNESS! The scripture describes the status of the depraved mind by using these spiritual terms or conditions: apostate, compromiser, reprobate, sinner, backslider, and blasphemer. These are but a few of the descriptive terms that implicitly refer to the diverse qualities of darkness.
What, then, causes an individual to end up in the dimension deeper and darker than the curse man is born under? In a study of Luke 15 we recognize God’s compassion for the lost. The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin reflect God’s perfections of love and mercy. The first 10 verses deal explicitly with the lost. In conjunction with the lost, Christ introduces in verse 11, a different scenario but closely related to the previous parables by enlarging the concept with the story of the prodigal son. We rejoice to eventually discover a depth to the mercy and compassion of God that restores and makes room for new beginnings. I humbly submit that the requisite for the prodigal’s spiritual recovery lies in verses 17-19. Essentially, he never completely lost his concept of Father’s house. When he came to himself he discovered the old virtues of the blessings and godly provisions of being a true and faithful son and was overwhelmed with gratefulness for how he was trained and raised. It all flooded in upon him of what was then the right thing to do. Go home and humbly submit himself to the father and fall on his mercy. His attitude, which was cultivated in the father’s house through the many years of living there, was reawakened and that fundamental knowledge that was never lost in the years of riotous living led him back to his roots. His ability to place the proper value and appreciation of the father’s house led to his restoration and thus redemption. For no man can truly appreciate the cost of anything, without first properly understanding the value of it. Fortunately, for the prodigal, it only took a hog pen for the realization of that esteemed value of the father’s house to be coveted. The Bible warns again and again of the danger of ever departing from, and the denouncing of, the truth of this gospel by slighting or altogether denying its power or purpose. (Hebrews3:12 & 2 Timothy 3:5) How great is THAT darkness!
In Galatians 1 :6-9, Paul warns emphatically of the eternal danger of not merely backsliding, but of walking away from this gospel message and whole-heartedly embracing another gospel. It’s one thing to fall away and, through riotous living, go back to the pit from whence you were initially dug. It is another thing altogether to make a total turn in your faith away from this only saving gospel message.
Paul also informs us of two men (Hymenaeus and Alexander) who evidently came to a place in
their spirit that he could no longer teach them and hey no longer would receive teaching and correction. He laments by saying, … whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1 :20. Why?
They would not hold to the faith with a good conscience henceforth they made shipwreck. 1 Timothy
1 :19. They put away their faith. Paul reached a place in dealing with these two men because of their new faith, or message, and a refusal to come back to their roots, that he simply delivered them into the spiritual darkness they so deserved. (1Timothy 1:19-20). The putting away of their faith thrust them into a darkness and condition of spirit they had previously never experienced. How great is THAT darkness!
Paul, describing the pedigree and perils of the end time to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-10, sums up the whole of man by stating in verse 8: they are reprobate concerning the faith. Reprobate as used here means, “unapproved and rejected.” They put away their faith and embraced another faith. He says in verse 9, But they shall proceed no further.. How great is THAT darkness. In verse 10 he states, But thou hast fully known my doctrine… All of these men once had the light in them but by embracing a new gospel message, along with the discrediting or rejecting of the original faith that was once delivered to them, fell into a deeper and more sinister darkness of the spirit world.
Again, in Galatians 1 :8, Paul, understanding this dimension of evil, boldly announces that … though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Then, to emphasize with force, he repeats the warning in verse nine. The Greek
word for “accursed” can be found under number 394 in Strong’s Greek Concordance. The word is “anathema.” It is defined as “anything banned or rejected from divine participation.” One lexical
rendition states; “with no hope of being redeemed.” There are no redeemable qualities.
Those that left this faith, not by simply returning to the works of the flesh, but leaving the principles of this faith and embracing a new and revised gospel of grace which Paul says is not another gospel at all, (Galatians 1 :7) have entered into THA T darkness. Rare is the case that these people ever return. They lose their original apostolic identity, the look, the sound, the conviction, the power; all is lost. Having
eyes they see not. Through a subtle, and oftentimes not so subtle, change of lifestyle they mock the faith they at one time were taught and embraced. How? They do so by initially allowing more encroachment of the world; through the moving of old landmarks; and, the loosening of long-held standards of dress and righteous living.
Ultimately these blind leaders announce a new revelation, (based on the latest cultural trends of course) and set a new course of direction they themselves at one time steered away from. Although not taught these principles and concepts originally, they embrace them nonetheless, while now maintaining a disdain for what they once claimed they loved. In Romans 1 :21 Paul says, having their foolish heart darkened… As a result, He gives them up to uncleanness (verse 24) and to vile affections (verse 26). Then He gives them over to a reprobate mind (verse 28). Why? They would not retain the knowledge of God that was imparted to them through the light of His Spirit. What unclean living and vile affections could not produce, a departing FROM, and eventually not retaining OF, the knowledge of God as He was first revealed to them certainly did. Oh, How great is THAT darkness!
In 2 Corinthians 11 :4, Paul issues the same warning to Corinth as he did to Galatia. First, he confesses a great fear for them in verse 3. What was this great fear or concern that troubled the apostle? It wasn’t their sins that he so scathingly rebuked them for in the first letter. It wasn’t in the area of being able to repent and be restored, for all of these things Paul knew they could find hope and recovery from sin. But, he said I fear (that word means, a frightened awe,) lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted FROM the simplicity which is in Christ. Paul’s greatest concern for them was that they would leave the simple tenets of this gospel, or be pulled away FROM it, and embrace another.
In verse 4, he strongly commands not to tolerate for an instant anyone preaching another Jesus, another spirit, or another gospel other than what you have already received. He also instructs them by commanding, … ye might well bear with him. The Greek word for “bear” means, “to firmly set yourself against.” (See #2192 in Strong’s Greek Concordance.) Why is Paul concerned more about them leaving their foundation than their carnal living? Because when one goes down that road into THAT darkness, one most likely never returns. Paul, later in verses 13 & 14 shows the satanic forces that take over such a one. Their ultimate condemnation is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
How great is THAT darkness!
In conclusion, I’m reminded of a story I read several years ago. There were two men hospitalized for a long period of time together in the same room. The man by the only window would daily share with the other bedfast man the events outside, down below, on the hospital lawn. He described scenes of beauty and serene settings; a pond where little boys would play with their sailboats; families enjoying picnics; a father helping a daughter fly her kite. There were older couples hand in hand enjoying time alone on the benches beside the pond. Each day the other man waited anxiously to hear what the outside activities had to offer and each day was more of the same beauty and splendor. Then the day came that the man by the window passed away. Upon his death the other man requested to be moved by the window. As the shades were pulled back and blinds opened, the man hurriedly and anxiously sat up in the bed and stared out the window. To his shocking disappointment, he did not discover the pond or any of the pleasant scenes that had been told him for so long. Rather, what faced him outside the window was an ominous brick wall. When enquiring as to the meaning of it all, the staff informed him that the man by the window, who had for so long told him of the wondrous scenes of rare beauty, was himself a
blind man. “How and why could this be?” the man asked, bewildered by it all? The nurse replied, “Sir, he did that for his personal entertainment but he did it more for you, seeing you enjoyed it so much.”
God help us to fall deeper in love with this genuine faith that was once first delivered to the saints lest we find ourselves somewhere down the journey of life beguiled and greatly deceived by those blind to this gospel. Give us real men of God that refuse to change this message in order to appeal to the cultural trends of entertainment just to gather a crowd. How great is THAT darkness!
Watchman, tell it like it really is.
Child of God, walk in the light while you have the light