“And God said: Let there be light.”
I had one of my small epiphanies some days ago when out of nowhere it struck me that this verse also is an illustration of how we bring life to a person or situation by our spoken word.
In this context it is interesting to note that Paul begins and ends his letter to the Romans with something he calls the obedience of faith. It is my conviction that whenever we pray or speak words of faith we exercise this obedience which Jesus learned by what he suffered and which we learn the same way, not least when the “obedience” of the law has done its work in us and “killed” us.
In order to get a deeper understanding of what obedience is according to Paul let us consider the word “reckon” he uses in Romans 6:11: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” If I am to paraphrase Paul’s words it would be something like this: “Reckon this to be true without any evidences save what the Spirit has revealed to you in the Scriptures. Our emotions, our reason, appearances and experiences will contradict and oppose this truth, so our starting point is the obedience of faith.” To reckon us alive to God we might say is turning on the light when we are stuck in a quagmire of condemnation, or when doctrines of men temporarily blow us out of course.
This obedience of faith is also progressive leaps of faith as we go from faith to faith. Casting all caution to the winds and “blindly” trust God isn’t something that always is an easy thing to do, but the faith of Christ that works powerfully in us is God’s trust in Himself that wells up in us. This obedience will in due time produce substance in whatever form it comes. Norman Grubb in one of his many writings pointed out that Hebrews 11:1 also can be translated: “Faith is giving substance…..” Faith is both the substance (spirit facts) and giving substance (the inner witness) or outer manifestations.
While reading Romans 1 the other day this jumped out of the screen: “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son…”
Intriguing choice of words: “Serve with my spirit.” That pretty much turns everything upside down because we are so used to think in terms of: My soul, my body, my good deeds, my adherence to the law or whatever. The beauty and simplicity of Christian service and being is summed up in “with my spirit”. One verse that comes to mind is: We cannot serve two masters. If we have Christ we serve God. If we do not have Christ we serve (with our spirits) the god of this world i.e. satan (1 John 3:10, Eph 2:2, John 8:44).
Let us go back to our mainline of investigation. We have already pointed out that this obedience of faith is contrary to sight (emotions, experiences, appearances etc). A verse in 1 John took on a new significance the other day, and I think what John says there pertains to this obedience of faith because what he states is so contrary to “common sense” and sight.
It is one of several black and white statements in his epistle. When I some years ago inquired God whether universal salvation was true or not this was the verse I was given and which settled the matter for me. John says: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” To all appearances, those who do not have the Son have life, and even abundance of life. Which is true? Appearances or what John says? What I mean with that this verse took on a new significance is that it became a symbol to me about how strong and convincing appearances can be, and how contrary they are to spirit facts.
“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebr 10:39). The obedience of faith is evidently soul preserving, but why is the word soul used here and not spirit?
In occult thinking the prevailing idea is that after death we lose distinction and become an I that is neither subject nor object, but a nameless thing swallowed up in the bliss of Nirvana. In other words, our I is dissolved. This totally at odds with the Christian hope about a heavenly body and an afterlife on a new earth and a new heaven. Perhaps we can put it like this: Oneness in occult thinking is extinction, whereas oneness in God’s logic is diversity, distinction, expression and uniqueness.
All these qualities are expressed in our soul, but in true fact it is our spirits that are expressed through our souls, spirits that are one spirit/Spirit with God; spirits that serve God so that we are God-expressors. We can thus demise from the above verse that it is those who serve God with their spirits who will have the ability for self-expression after we leave this temporary realm.
Light always radiates from its source and benefits others. So, when God spoke, “Let there be light” it was for our sake. Likewise, our light proceeds out from us to others and for others. This light will take on very concrete forms whenever we speak our words of faith, let there be light words, for others, saved and unsaved alike.