“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
If you’ve ever felt like your sin is too shameful, too bad, too evil for anyone, let alone God, to forgive, this verse is for you. Paul is talking about light and darkness as a metaphor for good and evil. It’s a familiar metaphor, light overcomes darkness. But Paul has a little more to say about it than that. There’s a very important aspect of light and darkness that he is pointing out.
Imagine that you’re in a dark room and you find a candle. You light the candle and you can see a little better than you could before, but still not great. As you look around the room, you find another candle and you light it with the flame from the first. The brighter it gets, the more candles you see around the room, and with every one that you light, the darkness disappears.
Our sins are the unlit candles.
Before it is lit, the candle is just as dark as anything else in the room. It isn’t giving off any light. But when you bring a flame near it, not only does the candle become visible, but it also catches the flame and starts giving off its own light. Paul is saying that sin is the same way.
In the verse before the selected passage above, Paul says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Why? Because when you expose them, they become visible. Not only do they become visible, but they become light themselves. You see, when we bring our sin into the light, confess it, expose it, we are making it visible. It’s scary at first, painful even to admit to our struggles. But once the darkness has been made visible, the transforming work of Christ begins. Not only does he forgive you, but he turns the dark things of your past into light for others around you. Think of an addiction support group. It’s effective because people that have previously struggled with an addiction can help those who are facing it now.
Your sin, or more accurately, the redemption of your sin, can serve as a beacon of hope to people who are struggling in a similar way. All you have to do is bring it to the light, repent, trust Jesus to redeem that sin, and allow him to use it to bring hope to those who are in the darkness.
I’m ashamed of my sin. I hate the things that I do that aren’t your will. I’m sorry, and I ask for your forgiveness. Please give me the courage to expose the darkness in my life, and please transform the struggles of my past into a light for everyone else to see you.
In Jesus’ Name,