This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on his apologetics series on The Honor of Humanity Part 13 on 5th November 2006.
All cultures and religions in the world have illuminated mankind and become the light of humanity. All religions contain hope. They have a direction towards eternity. On the other hand, culture gives direction regarding the present life.
But the light of religion and culture is limited because they are man-made. The light of salvation proclaimed in the Scriptures surpasses them all. All cultures that have been illuminated by the light of salvation in the Scriptures produce the greatest accomplishments.
What sort of light does humanity need? What sort of light is in us? How do we express the function of light? Who can illuminate others? What kind of persons can influence the generations to come? All these influences do not originate from the people themselves, but they are just reflecting the light that comes from God Himself.
God is light. As we are made in the image of God, we also can illuminate light. One of the important functions of life is illumination. Confucius may have died many hundred years ago but he is still influencing people today. That is because there is light in his life. This is part of the mark of humanity created in the image and likeness of God.
Nobody has shined like Jesus Christ. Only when a person reflect the light of Jesus Christ does he truly reflects the light of God. Jesus Christ is the Image of God in history. He Himself said, “I am the Light of the world.”
Jesus is light coming into the world, but the world is in darkness so it hates the light. Those who walk in truth walk in the light. Christ is the Light of God manifested in the world. Not a single religious leader in the world speaks like Jesus, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men so that when they see your good deeds they will glorify your Father in heaven.”
In creation, the first thing God command into being is light. This is the first action of creation. “Let there be light.” And there is light. We should illuminate others, not because we are the light but we reflect light. We are not God. We are not Christ. We are not the Holy Spirit. We are human beings made in His image. We can reflect His light.
There are 3 types of light we can reflect: physical light, ethical light and spiritual light.
People like Edison and Einstein have illuminated the entire world with physical (scientific) light. Socrates, Ghandi, Confucius illuminate the world with the light of ethics. Their lives, character, wisdom, goodness, holiness, etc. can illuminate the world because men are made in the image of God.
But these two kinds of light are not sufficient. We need the light of the truth of God. We need the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth to us.
The truth is given by God’s revelation in the Scriptures. The term ‘revelation’ means to open up a mystery. Only by Revelation we know the mystery and the content. In the work of Revelation, God gives us the appearance of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures.
But there is another work, which is illumination. This is different from the work revelation. Illumination means to give light. When we read the Bible, we have to read under the light. But the light needs to be reflected to us. Revelation is already complete. We cannot compare ourselves with the apostles and the prophets, through whom God gives His Revelation to us. We are Christians who receive illumination from the Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we can understand the Scriptures that are already revealed to us.
May we reflect God’s light that others might be illuminated because our life influence. Jesus is the Light of eternity and we are the created light. Are we living in the light? How many people have we influenced and brought to the light?