Reflecting Divine Light in a Dark, Secular World

Episode 61 Blog Post

In an age where secular values often overshadow spiritual principles, a single episode can ignite a profound reflection on the essence of our faith. The podcast episode titled “Reflecting Divine Light in a Dark, Secular World” delves into the deep layers of living in accordance with divine commandments and the joy that ensues from such a life. By exploring the nuanced interpretations of 1 John 2:7-11, the host unravels the timeless commandment of love, a directive that encapsulates the full spectrum of human experience, demanding our complete emotional, spiritual, and physical investment.

Love, as depicted in Deuteronomy 6:5 and 10:12, is not a mere fleeting emotion but a steadfast commitment akin to the bond between a parent and a child. It calls for reverence and consistent righteousness, highlighting the irreplaceable role of reverent fear in establishing a relationship grounded in respect and obedience. The host emphasizes the non-negotiable nature of adherence to God’s commands, much like the unwavering expectations a loving parent has for their child’s well-being.

As the episode progresses, listeners are invited to witness the transformation that agape love brings to the lives of born-again believers. This divine love transcends the ephemeral affections of the secular world, enabling us to love not only those who are dear to us but also those we consider adversaries. It is in this radical love that the true reflection of God’s glory is seen in the everyday lives of believers. The episode challenges us to be exemplars of Christ-like love, a beacon of care and compassion in a world often driven by self-interest.

The narrative takes a turn to address the significance of authenticity in faith, stressing the perils of harboring hatred. Through personal testimonies and teachings from John’s epistles, the host advocates for the necessity of genuine repentance and the liberating experience of forgiveness. It is not merely about abstaining from wrongdoing but actively seeking to live in the light, where there is no room for darkness or stumbling. This authentic pursuit of righteousness brings with it a joy that surpasses mere contentment, enveloping the believer in the protective embrace of God’s will.

A stark warning is issued against the pitfalls of prioritizing man-made traditions over the clear teachings of scripture. The episode calls for a return to the roots of worship, urging believers to align themselves with a church that holds the Bible as the ultimate authority. This reorientation towards scriptural truth serves as a bulwark against the dilution of faith through human customs and emphasizes the importance of grounding our worship practices in the unadulterated Word of God.

As the podcast reaches its conclusion, it leaves the listener with a profound sense of purpose and a renewed understanding of the power of divine love and forgiveness. It is a call to action, a reminder that the journey towards spiritual fulfillment is one of continual growth, obedience, and heartfelt devotion to the precepts of our Heavenly Father. The episode not only enlightens but also empowers, urging each one to reflect the divine love in their daily lives, transforming every act of obedience into an expression of faith that transcends the boundaries of the secular world.

In sum, the podcast serves as a beacon, guiding the listener through the transformative journey of love and forgiveness. It’s an invitation to embrace the fullness of divine commandments, to live authentically in the light of God’s love, and to witness the joy that comes from true spiritual obedience. It’s an episode that not only speaks to the mind but resonates with the soul, calling all to a higher standard of worship, rooted in the infallible Word of God.

Podcast 61 Transcript

This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.

B.R.Maul: Host


Hello and good day. I am BR Maul and this is Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. Today we continue in the book of 1 John. We are in chapter 2, and we’ll be in verses 7 through 11. A new commandment. I write to you.


Which thing is true in him and in you? Because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness. Until now, he who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. Let me pray, heavenly Father, guide my tongue. Let only your words pass through these lips. Convict me, father, if there is anything which is not of you and that is of me, and I pray as usual, let me unpack the verses for you.


So John starts out. Once again he’s referring to Christians. This is important that we keep this in mind. John in this letter is not addressing the unbeliever and he reminds us of that in verse 7, because he says brethren, and brethren is brothers and sisters, it’s family. He goes on to say I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. All right, so what is this old commandment that we have heard from the beginning? That is the commandment of love.


We can go back to Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verse 5, and that reads you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might. And that covers all three areas, because we are mental beings, we are spiritual beings and we are physical. Those are three avenues that we consist of. So it’s pretty clear that God because this was God, the Father, addressing the Israelites that that is what they should do and that is what we shall do. So loving the Lord, our God, with all of our heart, that’s our spirit, that is our emotions, that is who we are, that is our spirit, that is our emotions, that is who we are, that is our intellect, and with all your soul, so the very being of who we are, the core of that, the spiritual side of things, and with all of our might or strength, and that, of course, is our physical. We are not to cheat God on that, because he doesn’t cheat us. He has given all of himself. He loves us so much and he expects the same in return. That’s only fair, right. It’s the way any loving relationship goes.


Now there’s also another spot that is similar to that in Deuteronomy, that’s chapter 10, verses 12. And now Israel. What does the Lord, your God, require of you? But to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all his ways and to love him, to serve the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Very similar, but there’s a few differences. Here we are being reminded. First of all, it’s required of us. It’s required, and the first thing is to fear the Lord. That fear is that reverent fear. So it’s not the fear as in the boogeyman or the last scary movie you saw that type of fear. No, it’s a fear that is reverent. And that reverent fear, though, does have the knowledge that he is all-powerful and that he can wipe us out at any second.


I give the example, when I speak of reverent fear, of the way a child looks to his or her parents, a younger child. Their world is still pretty small. Their home is pretty much their world, and whatever mom and dad say is the truth. Now that child knows that mom and dad love that child so much, so they want to please mom and dad. But at the same time they’re going to take chances and when they get in trouble they realize, as mom or dad reminds them, who’s in control, who is the authority and disciplines that child. So that child wants to avoid being disciplined and there’s that reverent fear. I’m going to respect my mom, I’m going to respect my dad. I love them, but I’m also going to respect them because I know that I can get punished as well. And then it goes on that we are required to walk in all his ways. Walk in all his ways.


Often God’s word speaks about paths or ways and they are synonymous. A way, like a direction. I’m going to go north, south, east or west. Which way are you going today? Direction I’m going to go north, south, east or west. Which way are you going today? So we have the allegorical way, the pathway. What path are you taking?


In Psalm 23, we’re reminded that the Lord leads me down the paths of righteousness for his namesake. We could also say the way of righteousness for his namesake. So we are to walk in all his ways. We are to be righteous. That’s a reminder. We cannot step in and out whenever we feel like it. We don’t follow the world for a little bit, or follow the world Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday, and then on Sunday we go to church and we follow with the Lord for a while. But then we jump off that path on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday whenever that Sunday service wears off and we no longer have the vibe of the Holy Spirit and so we just start walking the world again. That’s not at all. We can’t live that way. Why? Because God says and that’s it. I would suggest yes, but there’s a reason why God says and that’s it. I would suggest yes, but there’s a reason why God says Right back to a parent with a child that they so love.


A parent doesn’t sit and try to explain to a three-year-old why they don’t touch the top of the oven. They just quickly get after them and warn them not to touch it or they’ll get hurt, and that child doesn’t believe them and suddenly touches. It quickly learns why. So it’s for the child’s own good. God does the same thing with us as his children. He tells us these commands for our good, not because he needs to be pleased God doesn’t need that. He didn’t have to make his creation to please him. But he knows it is for our good. He is taking care of us. So we are to fear him reverently, we are to walk in all his ways and to love him. There’s that love again, and when we get back to 1 John, this is the foundation of God’s family love. Without love, nothing works. If God didn’t love us, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.


And then to serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul. Now, just to point out in this particular area or this passage, I’m sorry it doesn’t say to serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and soul and strength. I find that interesting. I can’t say for sure why, because I would think that he would require all of us that physical part. But perhaps it’s because he’s fully aware that we are battling with the flesh, and so that is one battle that from time to time the saints are going to stumble. But even when we stumble in the flesh, we are not to just give up spiritually and with our heart. No, we are to repent and desire that forgiveness, need that forgiveness, be aware of that forgiveness that he gives us and move on and to continue to serve him.


Back to 1 John, verse 8,. John writes Again a new commandment. I write to you. Which thing is true in him and in you? Because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Well, that’s interesting. So how can we have the old commandment and now suddenly a new commandment? And what’s with John? He’s an apostle. He doesn’t make commandments. Well, I’m glad you pointed that out, beloved, because John isn’t the one making the commandment. What he’s pointing out in when he’s saying a new commandment, I write to you, it’s still love, but now it’s a different approach. And I find this really interesting because John is reminding us that we do have our old self.


Before being born again, while our spirit was still dead, our love was different. Our love was more the Hollywood love, the Valentine’s Day love, the kind of love that fluctuates with our feelings and emotions and circumstances. But John is reminding us here when he says again a new commandment. I write to you Because once we are born again, the Holy Spirit seals us and now we have the power of God in us. That’s amazing, right? I mean, think about that, beloved. The power of God abides in all born-again believers, because your spirit has been awakened, has been born, and now the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit and guides our spirit, teaches and counsels our spirit. And because now we are born again, we are able to fulfill the command of love.


Because there’s the other part of this commandment of love. There’s the first part, which is making it quite clear that we love the Lord, our God, with everything we got. But then we are also told Jesus says you are to love your neighbor as yourself. Okay, so now those are two different levels of love. I wouldn’t say kind of love, because they are all agape love.


But keep in mind, beloved, that we are to love the Lord, our God, with all of our heart, soul and might, but we’re not to love ourselves. That way, we are not to put ourselves and love ourselves just as much as we love God. Do you see the danger in that? Because we are to put ourselves below God, but we are still to love ourselves. And along with loving ourselves, we are to love all those around us, because that’s what neighbor consists of. That word neighbor is an umbrella term. That is everybody who is near us, and not near just I like them but in the vicinity, physically near, yes, your neighbor that lives next door, or the neighbors that you work with in a building or that you take care of in a building, whatever your profession might be, all those people that you come in contact with, they are your neighbor and you are to love all of them as much as you love yourself. Love all of them as much as you love yourself. Let’s take out one.


Look here in Matthew, chapter 5, verse 43. This is Jesus talking. You have heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you love your enemies, bless those who curse, you do good to. This is what is sometimes referred to as common grace, where God pours his grace upon all of humanity, taking care of everybody. So it’s not a saving grace, but it’s a grace where everybody, sinners alike and saints alike, reap the benefit of God’s loving care, putting rain on the crops, the plants that grow.


And then verse 46, for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same. Sorry, IRS agents. This is God’s word, not mine. And if you greet your brethren, only what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so. Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Then that tax collector is sometimes called a heathen, or even the unbelievers love those who love them.


So, once again, we are to be holy, which means we are to be distinguished. We are to be different. People should be able to look at you as a Christian and say, oh yeah, that person is different. That person acts different. He or she really cares for those around them. They really go out of their way to help people and to be kind to people and to not cheat people.


So, Christians, we stand out when we are following God’s way. We stand out when we are loving our neighbors as ourselves, which is not the code of the world, which is get what you can, take what you can, no matter what you need to do, make yourself comfortable, no matter who you hurt, no matter who you climb over to get to the top. But our Heavenly Father makes it clear not my children, my children. You are to love everybody, including your enemies, those who we look at them and think you don’t deserve my kindness, you don’t deserve my love. But, beloved, thank God he didn’t base it salvation, that is, on what we deserve, right? After all, grace is giving us what we do not deserve and mercy is not giving us what we do deserve the punishment of hell. But he has given all a way to get out of that, to avoid going to hell, to avoid having to pay for our sins on our own, which since we can’t, that’s why it’s eternity in hell.


You ever think about that, how we can feel so good about things that we do when we are helping other people? And we should, we really should. Let me say it cautiously, because feeling good shouldn’t be patting ourselves on the back, going hey look, how great I am. Glory always goes to God. It is because of his grace, it is because his spirit dwells in us. He gives us the ability to do this. He gives us the ability to be forgiving to those who trespass against us, just as he has forgiven us. He has given us the ability to still love somebody who is spiteful and hateful. But we should do good things and we should feel good about that. It’s a blessing I feel comes with doing what God says when his children are loving their neighbors as themselves yes, we feel good about that, we feel joy. But going back to that, paying the price in hell. The reason I bring this up is because his word tells us that our greatest deeds, our best act of kindness, our best act of giving is still filthy rags to him. See, without the blood of Christ we cannot pay our price of sin, because then that’s all he sees is our sin and cloaked in that darkness, that sin, that ugliness, is as filthy rags to him. It isn’t until we are born again and the blood of Christ washes over us that now he doesn’t see our sin, but he sees his son and we appear to be just like his son. Jesus Christ Beloved.


Let me pause from the message just for a few short moments to thank you for listening to this ministry Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. I truly appreciate you joining me. If you find that this is a message that has been helping you, you can help me by sharing this message with family and friends. Spread the word about this, text them or email them the link so they can listen to it as well. And if you haven’t, go to my website, that’s brmaulcom and there at the bottom of the screen there’s a place for a newsletter Sign up so every week when a new podcast comes out, I can keep in touch with you If the Lord calls you to support this ministry.


I am grateful for all those who are able to help out and who are willing to help out. I can keep in touch with you If the Lord calls you to support this ministry. I am grateful for all those who are able to help out and who are willing to help out. There are several ways that you can help out financially. On many directories there’s a place you can click to support $3, $4, maybe $5 a month. It all adds up. You can also go to the website and click on Sponsor. There you can help by using PayPal or credit card and give whatever amount you want, whether it’s one time or monthly. And of course, the old-fashioned way is still in good use. You can send it to BrMallPoBox126, Frazee, Minnesota. That’s F-R-A-Z-E-E. Minnesota, 56544. You can use that to send a gift.


Or I love receiving letters and pray for me and pray that the Lord continues to open doors to reach others who are desperately seeking biblical truth, biblical teachings, and I thank you so much. Let’s get back to that message. Biblical teachings and I thank you so much. Let’s get back to that message. My heart goes out to those who indeed feel strongly about their works, that their good deeds are what eventually will justify them getting into heaven.


You know, talking about it, I feel everybody is thinking well, of course you have to believe in Jesus to get to heaven. Of course I would never rely on my good works. No, no, no. But the truth is, if you’re not born again and if you’ve never been born again, you should be able to look back at a part of your life. I know some people. They can get it right down to the date, the hour, the minute. Well, and that’s good. I’m happy for them. That would be exciting to be able to do that. I’m not one of those.


I can’t recall the exact day and the exact hour, but I do recall the emotions, what was going on. At that moment I could feel God talking to me and I know that’s weird, because normally we say hear God talking, but I could feel it. And in a time of my life where the darkness was so thick, suddenly there was that light and so with that, yes, our sins are covered when we are born again and we are able to love. We are able to love the Lord, our God, with all of our heart, mind and soul, and we can do that with agape love without needing to be paid back. And we can do that with agape love without needing to be paid back. We are able to help somebody who’s in need, to do favors without truly wanting anything in return. So not only not asking for something in return, but not even desiring that. To give people money who are in need, to give people our time who are in need, to give people our skills and talents who are in need and, dare I say, to be able to accept the giving from other brothers and sisters in the faith, because hopefully then we’ve overcome and we can overcome our pride. The Holy Spirit can squash that, and then a Christian can humbly accept money from a brother or sister because we may need it, or their time because we need it, or somebody else’s skills and talents because we need it. But all of that is connected to love. Without love, there is no Christianity.


Moving on to verse 9, john writes he who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness. Until now. John writes that was verse 10. So let me back up to verse 9. Saying that we are in the light doesn’t mean that we’re in the light.


Some of the hardest people for me to be around are those who, because they say something, believe it is true. And John here is saying he who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness. Until now, even those, in other words, that may be among us that are saying, yes, yes, I’m in the light, I love Jesus. And yet they have hate in their heart, whether it’s to just one individual or to a group of people, whatever it might be. But with hate in our heart, he’s saying no, you’re still in darkness.


That’s one tool that we can use for vetting fellow brothers and sisters, people who claim to be a follower of Christ. It’s one thing to really be upset at somebody. They hurt our feelings and we’re feeling pretty bad. But as Christians we’re not allowed to hold on to that. We are told forgive. Forgive as soon as possible, because he has forgiven us and because we haven’t forgiven, there’s nothing greater that somebody else can do to us that we haven’t already thought. There’s nothing greater that somebody else can do to us that we haven’t already thought or did ourselves. And because our Lord has washed away our sins and forgiven our sins, we are to not hold a grudge at all. And so hate isn’t an option as a Christian.


And when a Christian steps into that threshold of hate, is quickly convicted. The Holy Spirit will knock you on your butt when that inside burning flame of hate even starts to spark. Tell you what. I’ve been there and in a moment when wow, do I want to say something, but I get sick to my stomach, the Holy Spirit is quick to stomp on that spark and say what do you think you’re doing? So if a person falls into that that verse 9, saying they are in the light and is harboring hate, beloved, pray to the Lord and ask for forgiveness, and ask the Lord to reveal anything that is between you and your Holy Father, because he loves you and wants to bless you, and hate is a great way to put walls up between you and him.


Verse 10,. He who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. Well, why is that? Well, because we’re in the light when we are walking the paths of righteousness, when we are following Jesus because he leads us down the paths of righteousness. We can clearly see where we’re going and when there are obstacles, we can step right over them or walk around them and keep doing the right thing. And if we look at verse 11, but he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. So, walking in that darkness, we’re no longer on the path of righteousness.


I’ve said before that this makes a person one of two things, and that’s a backslider or an apostate. And this is near and dear to me and that’s why, in this ministry, I speak and teach so much about backsliding or being an apostate. Because the problem is one, you’re still heaven-bound. The other, you’re hell-bound, but believe you are heaven-bound. And to me that is the most frightening place a person can be and my heart goes out to them. And the reason my heart goes out to the masses that are in this is because the denominations of this world that are so caught up in their own numbers and in people following them and in their hierarchies and in their wealth and with their prestige, with their influence, it’s all about the denomination, it’s all about the leaders where Jesus says no, the kingdom of God is the opposite Flip-flop that he who is least is the greatest in heaven.


So with that we have many people who are apostates, who believe that because they’ve been going to church now for decades and they make sure they give an adequate amount, they make sure they’re at least tithing, they do all kinds of stuff. They may be volunteering, they may be very helpful, but the problem is they’re not loving. They’re not loving with God’s love, they’re loving with the world’s love, but, most importantly, they have not repented and they are not born again. Apostates sooner or later give up. And there’s the same ones who, behind closed doors or when they’re not at church or when they’re not around people act and think like the world, or if you’re in darkness, you’re backsliding and that just means you’re still born again, you’re heaven-bound because you can’t lose your salvation. If you’re confused about that, please get a hold of me.


But what happens when we backslide is that we lose the blessings of walking in the path of righteousness, doing God’s will, loving him, serving him. He blesses us so much and in every way he blesses us. I tell you what people that I know who are in God’s will, who is just. They are doing, they are loving him, they are loving God, they are loving their neighbor as their self. We all have problems, we all have issues, but you know what? They’re the people who. They have joy and they have happiness with that joy. That happiness comes and goes, because happiness is just an emotion. But joy is different. Joy is built in when we are following God, when we are loving him, and so many things like healing from major diseases, not being sick with viruses near as much as others Think about.


When God blessed the Israelites in the wilderness and he made it so their sandals didn’t wear out, their clothes didn’t fall apart as they should, 40 years wandering around as they obeyed him. Everything just stayed together. The problems were far and few in between. It’s as soon as we get away from our Heavenly Father, it’s as soon as we look into the world and start walking that way, when we are in that darkness, that we are tripping over things left and right, we’re bumping into the walls, we’re hitting all kinds of things, knocking things over in the darkness. It’s hard and it’s painful to be in the dark Because notice in verse 11, he says but he who hates his brother, is in darkness and walks in darkness. So that’s why it doesn’t mean, just because we are harboring hate, that we are not born again, because we can still be a brother or sister, but be blinded by darkness.


You stay in God’s word, beloved. Read his word every single day. The best relationships that we have in life are daily. We think of those that we love the most every day. The best relationships that we have in life are daily. We think of those that we love the most every day. So read his word every day. After all, he has given you the time right. He has created you and every hour is a gift. Pray to him, keep praying to him daily.


Come together with brothers and sisters in the faith, maybe a small group, a reminder make sure those that you are with are indeed born again. It’s important that you guys grow together and that the Holy Spirit is influencing you all, because James tells us to pray together. We are to confess our faults one to another and pray one for another that we may be healed. That’s not something we do with those who are non-believers. Other, that we may be healed. That’s not something we do with those who are non-believers.


And if you’re fortunate enough to either be in a church or have a church available that is a Bible teaching and preaching church and that is a church that is solid, concrete, on God’s word. Only traditions are fine, but traditions there’s no place for man’s tradition in God’s word. I caution those who are in a church, who they are being told by leadership and others that here’s what you must do, this is what you have to do, this is the way we do things, and if you don’t like it, well, there’s the door. My advice would be to turn around and use that door and leave, because those who are grounded, who are standing on the rock, will not be budged and moved by somebody who’s merely not doing their tradition. Because we’re not about tradition. We are about loving the Lord, our God, and following him, doing what he tells us to do, and I hope that makes sense.

And until next time,

God bless.

Songs and Sound Effects from

“Heroes Inspire Hope” and “Mountainscape” by Humans Win

“Hearts Glow” by Humans Win