The Depth of the Darkness of Sin
As soon as you hit the cold water, you gasp for air, but receive only water. You try to reach for the surface, frantically kicking your feet. As your head clears the surface, you try to cough out the water and breathe in precious air. Your attempt at the lifesaving breath is cut short by a wave crashing over you. The force of the storm wrought waves push you back under the water. Again, you are robbed of your ability to breath. In vain, you reach for the surface as it slowly slips away. As you sink farther into your watery tomb, the darkness begins to grow. You feel your life slipping away. With your fading thought, you cry out to the Lord.
You awake violently as your lungs attempt to expel the water. Slowly, as your lungs clear, you regain consciousness. As you awake from your unconscious state, you notice that darkness still surrounds you. With the new found life and breath, you pray to the Lord. You desire to once again worship the Lord Almighty. You offer to the Lord prayers of thanksgiving.
Time passes slowly in the dark. Without the sun, you have lost all track of time. As each minute passes, you continue to pray to the Lord. All of a sudden you begin to move. It is not a slow, small movement. The walls around you begin to compress, pushing you and moving you faster and faster until you find yourself being violently vomited out of a great fish’s mouth, landing on the shore. You are alive. From the darkness of the deep and the verge of death, the Lord has delivered you and has given you life.
The life of a Christian is not much different from this great event in the life of Jonah. Before a person becomes a child of God, he too is surrounded by darkness, ever sinking deeper and deeper in sin. It was from this “domain of darkness” that the Lord has delivered His people. The apostle Paul wrote, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14, ESV) Just as Jonah found salvation in the belly of the great fish, so too do sinners find salvation when they are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ. Just as Jonah’s new life began upon the shore, a Christian’s new life begins when he is raised with Christ through baptism. (cf. Romans 6:3-4)
Peter referred to this deliverance from the “domain of darkness” as one being called “out of darkness.” The apostle Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” In the case of Jonah, Jonah repented and cried out to the Lord and the Lord delivered him. For those lost in sin, they too can repent and cry unto the Lord and be delivered from the darkness by the gospel of Jesus Christ. (cf. Romans 1:16)
In the story of Jonah, Jonah found himself in the darkness of the deep because he had disobeyed the Lord. After the Lord delivered Jonah from his dark tomb, Jonah obeyed the Lord. Far too often, Christians find themselves in the same boat as Jonah, running from God, returning to a life deep in sin. For whatever reason, these do-as-Jonah-did Christians walk a path of disobedience. To walk a faithful path is to overcome temptations. However, in order to overcome temptations, Christians must desire to obey the Lord, always drawing near unto Him. (cf. James 4:8)
There are so many temptations which flood the lives of Christians. Temptations, such as covetousness and jealousy, sexual immorality and uncontrolled emotional responses, lying and deception, etc., face every Christian. Just as Jonah knew what was right, so to do Christians know what is right. The sins listed in passages such as Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-9, and 1 Peter 4:1-4 are known to all Christians. Christians must strive to recognize temptations and turn away.
What should the Christian do who, like Jonah, finds himself sinking into the dark depths of disobedience? He should repentantly cry out to the Lord, asking for forgiveness of his sins. As Jonah spent three days contemplating his situation and praying unto God, so too must the erring Christian contemplate his situation and pray to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9 – 2:2). Do not be caught up in the depths of the darkness of sin.