The Positive Nature of Light

“‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house’” (Matthew 5:14–15).

In its fullest sense, God’s light is the full revelation of His Word—the written Word of Scripture and the living Word of Jesus Christ. As the light of the world, Jesus is telling us to proclaim God’s light in a world engulfed in darkness, just as our Lord came “to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). Christ is the true light and we are His reflections.

By its nature, light must be visible to illuminate. Both in the daytime and at night, “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” By day its houses and buildings stand out on the landscape, and at night the many lights shining out of its windows make it impossible to miss. A secret Christian is as incongruous as a hidden light. Lights are meant to illuminate, not to be hidden; to be displayed, not to be covered.

God did not give the gospel of His Son to be the secret, hidden treasure of a few, but to enlighten every person (John 1:9). Just as God offers His light to the whole world, so must His church. It is not our gospel but God’s, and He gives it to us not only for our own sakes but also the entire world’s.
As a true believer, you are salt and light, and you must fulfill that identity.

Ask Yourself
How does this command of Christ operate in a culture that’s as sensitive to religious tolerance as ours is today? How does one hold high the true light of the gospel when the prevailing belief declares that all ways to God are equally illuminating?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610