Saturday, February 23, 2008

God Is Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 all sin.

In my last post I pointed out that John is writing here to show us how we can have fellowship with God. As we move now into verse 5 he shows us the very first thing that we must know - God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. John goes on to say that if we say we have fellowship with Him, and we are still walking in darkness, then we are a liar and we are not practicing the truth. So the questions we have to ask here are these, what does in mean that God is light? What does it mean to walk in darkness? And how can we walk in the light? We'll look at the first question today, and take up the second and third questions in my next post.

God is light
So what does it mean that God is light? John is using light here as a metaphor, which we can see by his contrasting statement "in Him there is no darkness at all." As we look at this it must first be pointed out that what John is telling us is not what God is like, but rather what He is; John writes that God is light. Light is not all that God is, but this is where we must start in our understanding of who He is.

William MacDonald writes:
By this He meant that God is absolutely holy, absolutely righteous, and absolutely pure. God cannot look with favor on any form of sin. Nothing is hidden with Him, but “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
The Bible also tells us that:
But if we are to have fellowship with Him we must first recognize that God is light.

In his commentary on 1 John, Dr J Vernon McGee writes, "when John says that God is light, he is revealing many facets about the person of God. Although it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of the attributes of God, it says a great deal about Him." He then goes on to show us the characteristics of light and how they relate to what we are talking about here; he writes that one of the characteristics of light:
is that it is self-revealing. Light can be seen, but it diffuses itself. It illuminates the darkness. It is revealing. It lets me see my hands—I’ve been handling books, and I see that one of my hands has dirt on it, and I’m going to have to take it out and wash it. If it hadn’t been for the light, I would not have seen the soil. Light reveals flaws and impurity.
As we draw closer and closer to God we too see the dirt that is on us; the light of His holiness reveals the dirt of sin in our lives. But unlike us, in God there is no darkness at all. That means that because God is light, whatever He does is light. When he judges there is no dark side to his judgments; He judges in holiness. When He gets angry there is no darkness to His anger; His anger is righteous and pure. Everything about Him is summed up in this phrase - God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

So what does this mean for us?

As I mentioned above, the first thing it means is that the closer we get to God the more we will see our own sinfulness. As painful as this might be it is actually a good thing, because without the knowledge of our own sinfulness we will not see our need for the Savior.

Secondly it means that we can trust God totally and without question. Since there is no darkness in Him at all we know that whatever he says is right and true, and that He is completely trustworthy.

And finally, we know from observing light in nature that without it you cannot have life, so what this means for us is that as we draw closer to God, who is light, we are moving closer to the very source of our life.

Next time we will look at what it means to walk in darkness and see how we can walk in the light as He is in the light, but until then take some time to praise God for showing you that He is light and what that means. Remember, we can put our trust and faith in Him today without worry because He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.
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