Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Light Versus Darkness in the New Testament

Light vs. Darkness - New Testament

As believers in Christ, we should not walk in darkness but have the light of life. In this post, we’ll consider verses on light versus darkness in the New Testament that will help us to:

  1. Know God as light
  2. Walk as children of light
  3. Shine as luminaries in the world

God is light

1 John 1:5 says that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. This is the God who said, “Out of darkness light shall shine…” and the same God, “…who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6).”

We must admit that we were just like the people in Matthew 4:16 who were, “…sitting in darkness…” and in, “…the region of the shadow of death.” But, “…because of the merciful compassions of our God, in which the rising sun visited us from on high (Lk. 1:78)” we have, “…seen a great light…” and to us, “…light has risen (Matt. 4:16).” This light is none other than God Himself.

When the Lord Jesus came, He introduced Himself in John 8:12 as, “…the light of the world.” He did this so that, “…every one who believes into [Him] would not remain in darkness (John 12:46)” or, “…walk in darkness.” Rather, “…he who follows [Him] shall have the light of life (John 8:12).”


19…men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil.
20 For every one who practices evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his works be reproved (John 3:19-20).


…he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be manifested that they are wrought in God (John 3:21).

So, how can we be those who do the truth and come to the light?

Walk in the Light

We Christians are surrounded by people who love darkness rather than the light. Sure, we are Christians and have the light of life in us, but it is still possible to be affected by those around us who are walking in darkness.

We can also be affected by dark things we take in from the news or certain types of entertainment like movies, music, and books. We may have had a good start in our Christian life, yet gradually be lulled to sleep and begin to fall into a walk that is just like that of the people around us. We need to consider 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6:

4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief;
5 For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
6 So then let us not sleep, as the rest do, but let us watch and be sober.

We also should consider 2 Corinthians 6:14:

Do not become dissimilarly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

We should not think that this doesn’t apply to us. 1 John 1:6-7 helps us with this:

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and are not practicing the truth;
7 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 cleanses us from every sin.

To be a Christian today is not easy. Those who hate the light and love darkness encompass us. We live in a world full of darkness, but we’ve been called out of darkness into His marvelous light:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9

In fact, we should even be encouraged:

The night is far advanced, and the day has drawn near. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the weapons of light. -Rom. 13:12

What are the weapons of light? Ephesians 6:11-18 tells us to,

11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil.
12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against…the world rulers of this darkness…

In John 9:5, the Lord said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” It’s very interesting that He added the qualifying phrase, “While I am in the world.” Did that mean that once He left the world He would no longer be the light of the world? Or that there would cease to be light in the world?

Three chapters later, in John 12:35-36, He tells us to, “…walk…so that darkness may not overcome you.” Then He goes on to say that we should, “…believe into the light, so that [we] may become sons of light.” So even though He would eventually leave the world, we should believe into the light and walk in the light. Then we will not be overcome by darkness and can even become sons of light.

Moreover, in Matthew 5:14, He goes further to tell us, “You are the light of the world.” As those who have believed into the light and have received God into our heart as light, we are now the light of world.

As such we must walk in a way that shines forth the light and is not overcome by darkness. Ephesians 5:7-16 instructs us:

7 Therefore do not be partakers with [sons of disobedience] (v. 7).
8 For you were once darkness but are now light in the Lord; walk as children of light
9 (For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10 Proving what is well pleasing to the Lord.
11 And do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them.
12 For the things which are done by them in secret it is shameful even to speak of.
13 But all things which are reproved are made manifest by the light; for everything that makes manifest is light.
14 Therefore He says, Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.
15 Look therefore carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Shine as Luminaries

Through our living and our walk we should fulfill our commission:

To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. -Acts 26:18

As the disciples of the Lord, as His continuation on the earth today, we have a responsibility to be the light of the world just as He was. In Matthew 5:14-16, our Lord charged us in this way:

14 You are the light of the world. It is impossible for a city situated upon a mountain to be hidden.
15 Nor do men light a lamp and place it under the bushel, but on the lampstand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in the heavens.

We should be those who walk in the light, in fellowship with the Lord, constantly working out our own salvation that we,

…may be blameless and guileless, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom [we] shine as luminaries in the world. -Phil 2:15

In the beginning, in Genesis, God spoke and there was light. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus walked on the earth and was the light of the world. Today as Christians, as those who have the light of life, we also must speak to the world around us just like John the Baptist and “…testify concerning the light, that all might believe through [us].” And we must walk in a way that shines forth the light and overcomes the darkness.

Photo credit: MarilynJane

About Daniel Paley

Daniel is a guest contributor for Holding to Truth.

8 Replies

  1. Beatriz

    “Thank You, Lord, that in my darkness You can be Light!”
    My darkness afford the Lord the opportunity to unveil Himself as light!
    The Lord never loses!
    Only Satan is the loser!

    Praise You, my Lord!

  2. Todd B.

    Lord keep us always in Your light enjoying You, and the members of Your Body, participating in Your building. I love hymn # 173. In the chorus it says: “Thou art fairer than the morning, Thou art brighter, brighter than the day. At the glory of Thy presence. Clouds and darkness flee away.”

  3. Thanks for this great post! I’m speaking to 3rd-6th graders about being the light in this world and this was very helpful.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Light is in the word of God (Psalm 119:105, 130). The more we can fill the hearts of the children and young people with God’s word and help them to read it and even memorize golden verses from the Bible, the more they will be filled with God’s light to shine in this dark world. Phil. 2:15-16, says, “you shine as luminaries (lights) in the world, holding forth the word of life…” May this be our daily experience.

  4. Beautiful, rich, encouraging and powerful scripture.

    1. Tom Smith

      So true! It is God’s word that is beautiful, rich, encouraging and powerful. What better can we do than speak again what He has already spoken to us through His Word. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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