And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2, NKJV)
We all fashion ourselves after something or someone. Some set of values, someone we admire, or some goal to which we aspire. The Christian makes a conscious decision not to assimilate the thinking, values and goals of the world – that system of evil that is in opposition to God. Now converted to Christ, a change occurs – a metamorphosis – that is visible and recognizable. This transformation must begin in the mind, for that is the seat of all that we are. Rather than doing those things that offend God, we live for His approval. His full or “perfect will” is set before us in His Scriptures, and there we go to learn what is “good and acceptable” before Him. Renew your mind, your thinking, so that in your life will be the light of the world and please your heavenly Father (Matt. 5:14-16).
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NKJV)
Jesus illuminates this world with truth. As the light of the world, Jesus exposes the world with His light. The powerful truth of Christ’s word lays bare the darkness of sin in all its futility, foolishness and falsity. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it” (Jno. 1:5). Sin does not overwhelm the light of Christ. As the light of the world, Jesus judges the world. In the last day, His word will judge all who reject Him (Jno. 12:48). By walking in His light you avoid the future condemnation of sin. As the light of the world, Jesus saves the world. He shows the way out of sin; the way to the Father. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jno. 1:4). Rejoice and thank God each day that Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man” (Jno. 1:9). His true light of truth is “already shining” (1 Jno. 2:8). Follow Jesus. Walk in the light of His truth and be led to eternal life.
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” (Acts 5:19–20, NKJV)
Some Christians avoid religious controversy like the plague. While we are to live at peace with others (as much as it depends on us), that does not mean our lives will be without controversy. Faithful Christians do not need to go out looking for controversy; it will come to them. In today’s passage the Lord’s angel told Peter to go preach the gospel in the Jewish temple. That would be a very controversial but necessary move in order to save their souls. Divine truth must still be preached and lived (Mk. 16:15-16). When it is, expect the world’s opposition and the controversy that comes with it. Do not be afraid of men. Great controversy attended the life of Jesus and His apostles. We should expect no less when we follow Him (Jno. 15:18-19). Go and speak the words of life to everyone. How they choose to respond will be upon them, not you.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14–17, NKJV)
In prayer to His Father, Jesus said He had entrusted God’s word to the apostles as a shield and a sword against the world’s opposition. The “world” that hated Jesus and His apostles is the system or cosmos of evil, “the people constituting the world whose values, beliefs, and morals are in distinction and rebellion to God’s” (Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos Bible Software). The world continues to hate the followers of Jesus because we are not of this world. God’s word of truth exposes the world’s sin. Those who love sin instead of God will hate truth and those who follow it. The world remains under the sway of “evil one” (Satan, 1 Jno. 5:19). But, God’s truth has power to set us apart from the world. As so, we are of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).