You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life….Happy are the people who know how to praise you, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face….Jesus said: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life….If we walk in the light, as God is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (Psalms 56:13; 89:15; John 8:12; 1 John 1:7)
Saved by Grace
Martin Luther came to understood that he was saved from God’s wrath and curse by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus alone. But Luther still had a sensitive conscience that troubled him often. The closer he walked with Christ, the more awful Luther’s own indwelling sin seemed to him. That’s how the Apostle Paul felt and that’s healthy.1 Our flesh (our remaining sinful nature) desires what is contrary to the Holy Spirit who indwells us, and the Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that we don’t always walk with Jesus as we intend and as the Lord intends for us.2
Since we still wrestle with sin until we die or until Christ returns, how can we have sweet fellowship with God? Luther had a dream where he stood before God’s throne in Heaven. Satan accused Luther, just as the devil accused Job and Joshua.3 Satan the fault-finder accurately pointed out all the moral inconsistencies in Luther’s life. In the dream, Luther felt hopeless for a while. Then he remembered Jesus’ atoning death for him and Christ’s victorious resurrection. He remembered that Christ’s obedience, not ours, is the basis of our acceptance with God. In the dream, Luther turned to the devil and quoted 1 John 1:7—the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin. Luther woke from the dream with renewed joy that he had peace with God through our Lord Jesus.4
Walking in Christ’s Light
Christians are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus for walking with Him, not for selfishly doing what’s right in our own eyes.5 That’s what all the Bible teaches. Paul reminds us: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).”6 All these Scriptures above remind me of Kathleen Thomerson’s hymn, “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”. Here are the words. Don’t forget to read the refrain after each stanza.
1. I want to walk as a child of the light; I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world; the star of my life is Jesus.
2. I want to see the brightness of God; I want to look at Jesus. Clear Sun of Righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father.
3. I’m looking for the coming of Christ; I want to be with Jesus. When we have run with patience the race, we shall know the joy of Jesus.
Refrain: In Him there is no darkness at all; the night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God: Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
Notice Thomerson’s longings: I want to follow Jesus; I want to look at Jesus; I want to be with Jesus. There’s progression; she wants to get closer and closer to Christ in this life and finally in Heaven. When I’m thinking properly, that’s what I want, don’t you? Notice also how the refrain closes with a prayer: Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus. We ask Christ to change us, to grow us more and more in fellowship with Him. We need God to work in us to will and to act to fulfill His good purpose.7
The hymn reminds me of our kitchen plants, bending toward the sunlight. The sun sends off radiation, giving the plants nutrients, the equivalent of food. Plant leaves absorb the nutrients and turn them into energy to make leaves green and flowers bloom. Like Thomerson’s hymn, I need to be bending toward the Lord in faith, prayer, and obedience, putting what I learn from Scripture into practice day by day, with God’s help.
Kathleen Thomerson, Martin Luther, and all true Christians want to walk in Jesus’ light. That’s proof that we have been born again by the Spirit. It’s evidence that God has given us new hearts, minds, and lives. We need Jesus to keep on forgiving us and purifying us from all unrighteousness. And as we keep on returning to the Lord, He works in us Christ-like kindness, uprightness of heart, and truthfulness.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are Lord of Heaven and Earth. It’s foolish and futile to try to conceal my sins from you. There’s no hiding from you. You know me inside and out. And I will not prosper, succeed, or do well at anything for long if I run from you. Help me to confess and turn from my sins afresh to receive your compassion, mercy, and restoration afresh.
You have promised never to leave me or forsake me. Fill me again with your Holy Spirit and help me not to grieve you. Help me live in your light with my thoughts, my words, and my actions. Help me to follow Jesus and walk in His steps. Help me to live a life worthy of the calling I have received in Christ. Give me the blessing and happiness that comes from trusting Jesus and walking in His light. I pray in His name. Amen.
Notes: 1 Rom 7:14-25; Is 6:1-5; Luke 5:11. 2 Gal 5:17. 3 Job 1-2; Zec 3:1-10. 4 Rom 5:1. 5 Eph 2:8-10; Titus 3:4,5. 6 Eph 5:8-9. 7 Phil 2:12-13.