Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In His dealings with the Jewish religionists, the Lord Jesus declared that they were blind (Matt. 15:14; 23:16,17, 19, 24, 26). In John 12:46 the Lord Jesus said, “I have come a light into the world, that every one who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” The Lord let the people know that without Him they were in darkness. Furthermore, in John 8:12 He declared, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” The Lord’s word here indicates that anyone who does not receive Him as life will not have any light, but will walk in darkness.
The Gospels indicate clearly that the Jewish religion which was formed and constituted according to God’s Word had become darkness. With this darkness there was an authority, the authority identified by Paul in Colossians 1:13 as the authority of darkness. The Pharisees and priests were under this authority of darkness. In fact, this satanic authority of darkness controlled all of Judaism; it controlled the temple, the priesthood, and even the understanding of the Scriptures. Judaism was altogether under the control of the authority of darkness. In the Gospels this darkness is related not to the Gentile world, but to the Jewish religion, to the religion formed according to the Scriptures.
Even more than the four Gospels, the book of Acts reveals that the Jewish religion had become altogether the authority of darkness under which people were controlled. The Jewish religionists were responsible for casting the apostles into prison and for killing Stephen. Saul of Tarsus was one of these religionists under the control of the authority of darkness. As he was carrying out the will of the authority of darkness through aggressively persecuting those who called on the name of the Lord Jesus, he was confronted by the Lord on the way to Damascus. As Paul testified later, he “saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun” shining round about him (Acts 26:13). Furthermore, the Lord spoke to him, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 26:14). Through the shining of this light and the Lord’s speaking, Saul of Tarsus was delivered out of the authority of darkness and was transferred into another realm, a realm of light, which is the kingdom of the Son of God’s love.
According to the New Testament, the Son of God is the expression of the divine life and its embodiment. This means that the kingdom of the Son is a realm of life. The fact that the kingdom into which we have been transferred is the kingdom of the Son of God’s love indicates that this realm of life is in love, not in fear. The kingdom in which we find ourselves today is a realm full of life, light, and love.
Just as the Jewish religion has become a part of the authority of darkness, so the church also has fallen under the prevailing authority of darkness. Degradation began to take place not long after the church had come into existence. In 1 Corinthians we see evil things such as division, fornication, and lawsuits. Colossians, on the contrary, deals not with sinful things, but with religion, observances, ordinances, and philosophy. Although the saints in Colosse did not fall into evil things, they did come under the authority of darkness by allowing the highest products of culture to invade the church.
As he was writing the Epistle to the Colossians, Paul seemed to be saying, “Dear saints at Colosse, before I believed in Christ, I spent years under the authority of darkness in Judaism. But one day I was delivered out of that authority and transferred into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. Through the preaching of the gospel, you also have been delivered out of the authority of darkness and transferred into the same wonderful realm that I am in. Why then have you gone back to the very things from which you have been delivered? You have returned to the Jewish religion and Greek philosophy. You have once again come under those concepts that used to control your thought and life in the past. This means you are now under the very authority of darkness from which you have been delivered. You have been carried off as a spoil, as a prey. Why do you still observe new moons, Sabbaths, and regulations concerning eating and drinking? Don’t you know all that is the authority of darkness?” Paul knew that the saints in Colosse had again fallen under the satanic authority of darkness.
In the same principle, the Catholic Church, the Protestant denominations, and the various independent Christian groups are to a certain extent under the authority of darkness today. They are in darkness because for the most part they have Christ in name, but not in reality. Christ is the unique light. Apart from Him, there is no light. The reason so many Christians are in darkness is that they do not have Christ in an experiential way. Those in the seminaries may study theology and Christology, but they may not have the genuine experience of God and of Christ. Therefore, they are without light.
Many believers insist that the Bible is full of light. This, of course, is true. But if we do not read the Word in the Lord’s presence, even our reading of the Scriptures will be in darkness. We shall be like the Pharisees addressed by the Lord Jesus in John 5:39 and 40: “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is these that testify concerning Me; and you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” It is possible to have the Bible in our hand and yet still be blind and in darkness. The religionists were offended when Christ told them they were blind (John 9:39-41). They thought they were in light because they had the Scriptures in an outward way. But actually they were blind because they did not have Christ, who alone is the light of the world. Any place where the Lord Jesus is not present is under the authority of darkness.
We need to apply this principle to ourselves. Any part of our being or of our daily life that is without Christ is in darkness. If we in the Lord’s recovery do not have Christ experientially and in a practical way in our daily walk, we are in darkness. Do not think simply because you hear so many messages and teachings you are in the light. It is very possible that you are still in darkness.
For example, we may still be under the authority of darkness in our married life. When a brother is exchanging words with his wife, both he and his wife are in darkness. Because they are in darkness, they accuse and blame each other. The same is true when there are arguments between brothers or between sisters. Our experience testifies that whenever we live, walk, and behave in the self, we are in darkness. There is no need to commit some gross sin in order to be in darkness. Simply living according to the self puts us in darkness, for it causes us to be separated from Christ.
We should never think that darkness prevails only in Judaism, in Catholicism, or in the denominations and divisions, but not in us. It is possible that we ourselves may still be under the authority of darkness. Whenever we are in the natural man, not taking Christ as our person and living by Him, we are in darkness. We must remember that He alone is light. He must saturate and prevail in every aspect of our daily living. Otherwise, at least certain parts of our daily walk will not be filled with Christ, and those parts of our life will be in darkness.
Our homes have many rooms. Some rooms may be in the light, whereas others may be dark. The same may be true of our inner being and of our daily living. In certain respects, our life and our walk may be bright, full of light, because Christ occupies the prevailing position there. However, in other parts of our being or in other aspects of our living, we may be closed to the Lord and not allow Him to touch us. Those parts of our life and living that are closed off from Christ are spontaneously in darkness because Christ, the One who is the very light, has no place. Only when Christ occupies every part of us and every aspect of our daily walk can we be wholly in the light and altogether be delivered from the control of the authority of darkness.
The mistake the Colossians were making was that of receiving and following something other than Christ. To accept something in place of Christ is not only to be in darkness, but also to be under the controlling authority of darkness. Anything that is a substitute for Christ—philosophy, religion, character, virtues, concepts, opinions—becomes the authority of darkness to control us. At Colosse, the authority of darkness was Jewish religious observances, pagan ordinances, philosophy, mysticism, and asceticism. Although these things seemed to be good, they were actually the authority of darkness because they replaced Christ. They caused Christ, the light, to be set aside. Therefore, darkness became prevailing once again and controlled the saints in the church. This was the situation in Colosse, and may also be the situation today.
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