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” (1 John 1:5-7).
Thomas Kinkade is known as “the painter of light.” If you have ever been to one of his galleries, you know why. He has an amazing talent for depicting light using vibrant colors that just “pop” off the canvas.
He did a special series of Disney paintings. I would love to buy one for Deborah since she worked for the Disney Corporation, but one of decent size starts at about $1500.
The apostle John also likes to paint pictures using the contrast of light to darkness. He does so in our text for this Sunday morning from 1 John 1. John begins with a simple statement of theological fact: “GOD IS LIGHT!” And in case we misunderstand what John is saying, he explains further, “In Him, there is no darkness—none at all.
John uses light as a metaphor for moral perfection—not just moral goodness, but moral perfection. That’s who God is. He is moral perfection. In Him, there is not even a hint of anything evil, immoral, or wicked. There is no hidden sin. There is nothing in God that is not light.
The original Stars Wars movie came out in 1977. That movie introduced us to an unseen Force controlling everything. The phrase “May the Force be with you!” was the summer's catchphrase.
Now, The Force in Star Wars is not God. We know that because Obi Wan told us that The Force had both a light side and a dark side. That’s not God! God is light ONLY. And in Him, there is NO darkness. None at all.
John wants us to know that as people of God, we are to be shaped by God’s moral perfection. We should attempt to emulate His moral perfection today. And in the end, we will become morally perfect. We will see Jesus as He is—morally perfect—and we will become like Him (1 John 3:2).
Our walk with God should always be shaped by our confident awareness that in Him, there is no darkness at all. God commands us to “be holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
John takes the contrast a step further in verse 6 by saying that if we claim to be in fellowship with God while walking in darkness, we are liars. We do not practice the truth. Walking in darkness is a metaphor for the habitual practice of sin.
Notice that John does not say that in people, there is no darkness at all. We all have a dark side, don’t we? All of us are sinners. But understand that for us—for Christians—walking in darkness is not our practice. We do not embrace darkness. Darkness is not our pattern for life.
But John makes it clear that because we are human flesh, we have sinned and we will sin. That’s why verse 7 is such good news. If it’s not highlighted in your Bible by now, go get a highlighter. I’ll wait.
But if we walk in the light, as God is in the light, we have fellowship with one another (fellowship with God and fellowship among ourselves). And what happens within this fellowship? And the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
In other words, cleansing is available for human beings who are in fellowship with God but commit sin. Walking in the light does not mean walking as perfectly as God walks. But it does mean walking in a way that honors and glorifies God. We live in such a way that God’s moral perfection, the paradigm for our lives, is put on display.
We don’t always hit the target, but we are always aiming at the target. Godliness is what we always shoot for.
Now, this should dispel any myth about you and I falling “out of the light” of God’s grace when we sin. I think that’s what many of our churches taught back in the day—that every time I sin, I am immediately bound for hell. But then I beg God to reinstate me into the light and He graciously does. Then I sin again. Once more, I am hellbound! So, once more, I beg God’s forgiveness. In other words, my life is constantly light/dark, light/dark, light/ dark.
Wrong! If I am in Christ and the direction of my life is toward God’s moral perfection, then the blood of the Messiah is continually cleansing me of my sin. Yes, I was cleansed by Jesus’ blood at baptism! Praise God! But in my walk of fellowship with God, Jesus continues to cleanse me when I sin. What a blessing! What a promise!
Now, before you accuse me of preaching Perseverance of the Saints, eternal security, or “once saved, always saved”, understand that I am not. It is entirely possible for a person to “fall from grace” if he leaves the light of God's love and chooses to practice darkness. If he stops pursuing God’s moral perfection and instead chases after his own sinful wants and desires, he forfeits his salvation (see Heb. 6.4-6; 2 Pet. 2.20-22 and others).
But what a blessing it is to know that as I walk in the light with Jesus... when I fall, He lifts me up, cleans me off, and says, “I forgive you. Now pick up your cross, walk close to me, and stay in the light.”
Where are YOU walking?
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).