I have been reading God in the Dock, a collection of C.S. Lewis’ essays. The other day I read “Meditation in a Toolshed.” Lewis described being in the semidarkness of a small shed and seeing a beam of light streaming through a crack at the top of the door. As he looked at the sunbeam, he saw particles of dust floating through the air. But when he looked along the sunbeam, he could see the sky and the leaves of a tree swaying in the breeze. His point was that there is a difference between observing something from the outside and experiencing something from within it. He goes on to make the case that we can become objective observers of life and of faith and miss the experience of living life and experiencing our faith.
The Bible likens our faith to living in the light. Outside of Christ, we are living in darkness, but when we come to faith in Christ, we step into the light. As it says in Ephesians 5:8. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light… The Apostle John picks up on this same theme in 1 John 1:5-7. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Here is my point. There is a difference between observing the light of the gospel from outside of it and living immersed in the light of the gospel. Unfortunately, there are many theologians in our world who are very good at examining the light of the gospel from the outside, but are not walking in the light. They apply the tools of sociology, psychology, philosophy and textual criticism to dissect, analyze and “demythologize” the gospel. They insist on making the gospel conform to society’s current politically correct set of values. They know much about the light, but they continue to walk in darkness.
Walking in the light is very different. It is allowing the light of God’s word to make sense of the world around us. It is seeing our world through the light, allowing it to clarify and enlighten our understanding of the world. As it says in Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Instead of looking at the light of the gospel from the perspective of an outside observer, we are to look at our world through the light of the gospel.
The Gospel is never threatened by close examination. We are encouraged to study and explore God’s word with vigor. But we must be careful not to let knowledge of God’s word sidetrack us from living in God’s word. Paul addressed this in his argument about food sacrificed to idols. Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
It is important that we know and understand our faith. Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to have a mindless faith. But, it is more important that we live in the light of our faith, in the real world, even when we don’t fully understand. We should never stop seeking for answers, but we should never let not having all of the answers stop us from living immersed in the light of Christ.