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Tuesday April 28, 2020
1 John 1:5-7
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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 all sin.
Above all else, John wants to make one thing very clear to his readers: the message that he had devoted his life to, and had even risked his life to share with others, is the true Word of God which he heard directly from the very Word of Life Himself, Jesus Christ. This means that John is not sharing merely a personal opinion or best hypothesis on the nature and character of God as some are inclined to do, and in fact many in the community of Ephesus had been doing. While the Gnostic proponents claimed to be gatekeepers of a brand new, intricate system of previously hidden wisdom, in actuality what they peddled was a convoluted mixture of Greek Philosophy, Eastern Mysticism, Judaism, and Christian teachings. In contrast to the novel heresy, throughout this brief letter John reiterates timeless truths about God in simple language which God had already revealed about Himself.
While John’s language is plain, the truth conveyed is profound: “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” Repeatedly in his gospel, John uses this contrasting language of light and dark to describe the relationship between God and the world. From the opening paragraph in John 1:5, John writes “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Later, John quotes Jesus in 8:12 as saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The image of God as light refutes the error of a Gnostic teaching that said if Jesus was both man and God then He could have been relatively good, but it would have been impossible for Him to be absolutely good, because his corrupt humanity would have stained his perfect deity like the presence of a little bit of poison ruining what would otherwise have been excellent meal.
John portrays God as pure light, not the diminutive glow of a match or candle but the blazing fury of the noonday sun. Removing the lid of a dark box in the presence of the sun does not dilute the brightness of the sun but illuminates the box and completely eradicates the darkness. Some in the early church had begun to believe that once they professed faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins that they were then free to live however they would like. John sees right through this line of thinking and calls it what it is: a lie. Just as light and darkness can not coexist in the same space, the Christ follower can not claim fellowship with God while wholeheartedly pursuing the darkened ways of the world. While Scripture does not affirm the erroneous idea that all physical matter is corrupt, thus to merely exist in the world means any attempt at at right living is futile, it does confirm that at its core the nature of mankind is indeed broken. According to the Word, to walk in step with the fallen world is to walk in sin and darkness, away from the light of God.
John reminds his readers of the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Once a person places their faith and trust in Jesus, they are not just saved from the penalty of their sin, but they in turn become keepers of the light. Because light and darkness cannot coexist, and because in our fallen state we are drawn to the darkness, a battle rages in a futile attempt to extinguish the light. Allowing ourselves to be regularly exposed to Jesus, who is the Light of Life, helps us to eradicate the darkness within us and keep our feet firmly fixed on solid ground. We are reminded that it is not our own efforts, but only the blood fo Jesus that is able to cleanse us from our sins.
Even today it can be easy to believe the lie that after we become Christians it doesn’t matter what we do with the rest of our lives. This idea of cheap grace has been a constant temptation down through the centuries, and it is a war that wages within our own hearts. Jesus did not shed his blood to justify our sinful behavior, but because our sinful behavior had permanently separated us from the light. We are justified not because of what we have done, but only because of what He has done for us. He gave his life so that we could know true life and walk in His cleansing, pure, and perfect light.
Prayer for Today:
Lord Jesus, You know our nature and You know our hearts. Forgive us for the many times we try to justify and excuse our own sinful behavior and attitudes while condemning that of those around us. You are the true light of the world. We ask that Your light would shine in our hearts. Eradicate the dark sin within us and cleanse us of all our sin.