Discerning the Darkness

Ramon Arias | April 11, 2016

Are you born again in Jesus Christ? The reason for this question is to facilitate what I want to share and also for those of you who don’t have the experience of such a powerful transformation in your life you can also glean from this subject.

What brought us to the place of wanting to change our way of life to the point of accepting God’s offer in Christ? Each one of us has a unique story of that day, a day never to be forgotten. As a matter of fact, our lives before that memorable day would make a great book and a movie describing what brought us to life’s most important decision. The same can be said on how we live the new life in Christ after that providential day, whether it has been successful after the trials that have come along or if we caved in and said, “Oh forget it!” Did we go the way of the Prodigal Son who came back to his senses and accepted the Father’s conditions as being wiser than our foolish view of life, or did we drift totally away from so great a salvation?

For the sake of discerning darkness, let me stick to the subject. I’m almost certain we understand what Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians by stating what Christ does for the believer in Him:

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…” (Colossians 1:13)

“The Domain of Darkness”? The word domain and dominion are synonymous. We know what it is to be under the dominion of the power of darkness and the exasperation of not knowing how to break away from its grip. It is too powerful for any human effort and nothing we did to break free worked, rather the grip kept tightening until we finally understood that only by accepting Christ’s liberating power could we truly achieve our freedom. 

Since the dawn of history, the domain of darkness controls every human being; it is no respecter of person, age, race or social status. No social institution is out of reach for this power to control; this includes all areas of social life and politics as well as church and family. Let us not be naïve to think that, without God’s protection, these areas of life will be exempt from this power. Don’t think for a moment that science, technology, humanities, commerce, and education will escape this powerful darkness.

Seriously consider this question, how are we performing in the following areas: the economy, jobs, ever-increasing taxes, minimum wage, healthcare, education, liberty, national security, armed forces, illegal immigration, open borders or border security, sanctuary cities, big government, judicial tyranny, federal overreach in all areas of life, violent crime, prison systems, women’s rights, abortion (the mother’s choice to murder her child in the womb), equality, homosexual rights, racism, and more.

Are we, as a “Christian nation”, getting better or worse? At a glance, and based on the few categories mentioned above, how do you think we are doing? Who do you think is more to blame, those that don’t have the life of Christ or the professing Christians?  Two thousand years ago Paul answered this question with precision:

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6, ESV)

When the god of this world is mentioned, meaning Satan, it is not to say that he owns the world or controls humanity. If that were the case, humanity would have disappeared long ago. Evil never has a good ending, and that is what history is always warning us about.

The human mind that is influenced by evil ideas is blinded to the reality of God’s divine plan that was completed in Christ’s resurrection and how His life indwells the life of the biblical Christian.

What happens to society if Christians don’t live according to God’s will? They become part of the problem of cultural darkness. When Christians refuse to be the preserving salt and the light of God’s knowledge for a better society and nation, consciously or unconsciously, they are obviously influenced by the power of darkness. Our loyalty is entirely to God’s principles, or form of government here on earth as it is in heaven. Refusing to comply with our new nature in Christ prompts God to allow darkness to remain with devastating national consequences, no different than what happened to old Israel before the pagan empire of the Babylonians dominated them. The prophet Jeremiah warned Israel:

“Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.” (Jeremiah 13:16-17, ESV)

The born-again Christian’s loyalty should only be toward God and His divine plan to better all areas of society in any nation. As Christ’s disciples, we agreed with Paul’s testimony acknowledging the purpose of our salvation towards the unbeliever, as we were, and to expose the works of darkness:

“…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me [Jesus].” (Acts 26:18)

Biblical Christians know the importance of engaging in the war of ideas and not to discard Paul’s admonition and reminder of who we are in Christ and the things we need to be doing every single day: 

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:8-10, ESV)

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:9-20)

Let us be mindful that we must differentiate between knowledge and intellectual darkness from God’s revealed light found in His Word. From the moment we get up until we lie down to rest at night let God’s Word and the Holy Spirit equip us to know the difference. We also must be mindful of the times we are living and not be trapped by the hysteria of darkness in whatever way it chooses to manifest and influence our five senses. “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)