"And this is the message which we have heard from Him and announce unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 Jno. 1:5-7).
Darkness has always instilled dread, and even fear, in mankind. Babies don't like the drk, and we "stumble" in the darkness as we get older. But notice our text above: "God is Light." When God created the world (Gen. 1), darkness covered the earth (vs. 2), so God said, "Let there be light." One of the ten plagues God visited upon Egypt was "darkness that could be felt" (Exo. 10: 21). In the Scriptures, evil and its punishment is always associated with darkness: "Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me" (Psa. 139:11). Describing those who walk in iniquity, God says: "Who forsake the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness...The way of the wicked is as darkness; They know not at what they stumble" (Prov. 2:13; 4:19).
Jesus, during His ministry, also often spoke of darkness: "The people that sat in darkness saw a great light, and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, to them did light spring up" (Matt.4:16). To describe the awful punishment that awaits the wicked, He said, "And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 25:30). When He was arrested, Jesus said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Lk. 22:53).
I think it is highly significant that when Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, "Darkness came over the whole land" (Lk. 23:44). Satan, who has the "power of death" (Heb. 2:14) seemingly had won in his battle with the God of heaven. But the light of God would shine, not just in spite of that dark deed at Calvary, but specifically because of it!
God's Light Shines Through His Word: -- The Psalmist wrote, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path" (Psa. 119:105). If we would "see" God, and His light, we must look to His Word in which He reveals Himself to us. As the apostle Paul wrote, "The things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God...Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth" (1 Cor. 2:11-13). Too many today seek to know God while ignoring or neglecting His Word. Such is, indeed, the height of folly. He shines through His Word into our lives: "Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
In times past, God spoke to mankind in various ways, but "in these last days, speaks to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1,2). On the Mount of Transfiguration, God said of Jesus, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17: 5). Jesus came to bring light to this world: "The light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil" (Jno. 3:19,20). And Jesus left no doubt about His mission, "I am the light of the world" (Jno. 8: 12). When He said, "I and the Father are one" (Jno. 10:30), Jesus identifies Himself with the Him of Whom it is written, "God is light." Listen as John describes Jesus, His life and mission: "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not" (Jno. 1:4,5).
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord said, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14). The apostles took this very seriously. They realized that if people were to recognize God as "the light," they must reveal God to the world by their preaching. And this they did. They did it by preaching Christ. The apostle Paul preached "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). When he did that, the results are revealed; "I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 13:47). The Lord told Paul that his preaching of "Christ and Him crucified" to lost sinners would, "Open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26:18). The apostles were to "light up" the world with the knowledge of God and His Son by their preaching. And the did!
Light Contrasted With Darkness: -- Darkness has always been associated with the rule and domain of Satan. Jesus, discussing His mission in the world, said: "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil" (Jno. 3:19). As our text in 1 Jno. 1 shows, "God is light" and therefore Satan is darkness. This contrast is also shown by Jesus, "Again therefore Jesus spoke unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life'" (Jno. 8:12). When people in the first century heard the gospel and responded with "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5), the result is described thus: "God...delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins" (Col. 1:13,14).
To "walk in darkness" is to live in sin, being in bondage to the devil (Heb.2:15). As the Scripture says, "But he that hateth his brother is in the darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes" (1 Jno. 2:11). Paul, on trial before King Agrippa, revealed that his mission from Christ was to preach to the Gentiles, "To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins' (Acts 26:18).
The contrast between "light and darkness" is further shown in the words of Jesus; "I am the light of the world...Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while ye have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth" (Jno. 12:35). Notice again our text: "God is light...if we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 Jno. 1:6,7). As long as we walk in darkness, we cannot have fellowship with God, because we are in fellowship with the devil, submitting to his rule for our lives. The apostle Peter wrote of our deliverance from the clutches of Satan, "Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9).
In The Light, His Blood Cleanses Us: -- "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Thus, all people need to be saved from sin. But, "All things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). But the blood of animals could not cleanse (Heb. 10:4). What, then, could cleanse us? God answers by offering His only begotten Son on the cross: "With precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:19). It is by His blood that we are cleansed when we are "baptized into His death" (Rom. 6:3). And it is by His blood that we are constantly cleansed as we "walk in the light" in fellowship with God (1 Jno. 1:7).
When one is "baptized into Christ" (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3;27), he enters into a new relationship. The Scriptures say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ...in whom we have our redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:3,7). All "spiritual blessings" are "in Christ" and we are "in Christ" because of His blood, as we walk in the light.
This new relationship is our fellowship with God (1 Jno. 1:6,7), "In Christ," and it brings us every spiritual blessing. Because we are "walking in the light" (1 Jno. 1:7), we:
1. Have all spiritual blessings
-- Eph. 1:3.
2. Have forgiveness of sins -- Col. 1:14.
3. Have all promises of God -- 2 Cor. 1:20.
4. Become new creatures -- 2 Cor. 5:17.
5. Are made alive -- 1 Cor. 15:22.
6. Are reconciled to God -- Eph. 2:11-16.
7.Have eternal life -- 1 Jno. 5:11,13.
8. Have no condemnation -- Rom. 8:1.
9.Are made complete -- Col. 2:10.
10. Are blessed in death -- Rev. 14:13.
Jesus told the disciples, "Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid...Let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16). The only way we can be "the light of the world," is to walk in the light of God. Then, as we live in this world of the darkness of sin, we can "shine" the glory of God into the lives of sinners around us. As the apostle Paul wrote, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them... Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4-6).
As Christians, we have a mission: "Preach the gospel to every creature" (Mk. 16:16). That is why Paul showed how we are to "work out our own salvation." He wrote, "As children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye are seen as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life" (Phil. 2:15,16). Let us ever strive to show the light of the glory of God to a world of darkness ruled by Satan. And let us ever give thanks to God, Who enables us to "walk in the light" in fellowship with Him.
By Clem Thurman, in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 54, No. 18, May 6, 2005.
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