The Righteous Path Shines
“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18-19)
The mornings are dark these days just before we start daylight savings time. But I enjoy the gentle transition from darkness to light as the sun crowns the horizon and moves upward in the sky in Texas. Living in Africa, close to the equator, the sunrises and sunsets are very quick (and you may google this to learn why, since I am no scientist). God also gives us the light of truth and forgiveness for sin in Christ at the time of our regeneration. It is like the early morning sun that suddenly breaks over the horizon near the equator. But then, over our Christian lifetimes, his light of grace and truth increases until he calls us to himself at dearth.
Two things, at least, are necessary to remember: the light is God’s light (not some impersonal, universal or experiential idea), and the “path” and “way” both refer to a lifestyle or pattern of living here on earth. The two verse contrast living by Christ’s righteousness or living in the darkness of ignorance by rejecting his free grace. those who choose to reject Jesus’s gospel for themselves live in “deep darkness” which does not change but causes confusion and stumbling. (See Job 24:13.) If we are in Christ, his light becomes brighter and brighter in us and our lives as we grow spiritually. Christians who are growing in their Christ-likeness are witnesses of his light and forgiveness, as the sun is a testimony to God’s love and faithfulness. “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:20-21)
“[The light] grows and increases more and more, every grace does, faith, hope, love, patience, humility, etc. the light of the knowledge of Christ the way, though it is imperfect, yet capable of being increased, and is increased by means of the ministry of the word and ordinances; which increase God has promised, saints pursue after, and attain unto…the light [of the] Gospel, and the doctrines of it, increases yet more and more; whereby a soul walks pleasantly, comfortably, and safely, in right path, “until the perfect day” of glory comes.” * Our lives are the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ if we are walking with him. It is the “path of the righteous” which shines brighter and brighter by God’s grace. It is the strength of the gospel working in us that spills over into the lives of others. In Daniel’s words, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’… God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (John 1:4-5; 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6) How will your path, your life, reflect increasing light today?
* John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 4:18, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-4.html