God is Light

Over the last couple of months I have been astounded by one verse: “This is the message we have heard from (Jesus) and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5).

It is not just that “God is light,” but that when John considers the entire sum and substance of Jesus’ message, he concludes, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”  In its individual parts and as a whole, Jesus’ proclamation was one thing: God is pure, unadulterated Light.  Astounding!

Now, this is no surprise if you know John.  John loves duality, particularly the contrast between light and dark.  In this post, I only propose to offer the dualities within this one main duality.  What does it mean, in other words, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all?  This is a duality and its understanding offers further dualities in John’s writings.  This short list is what I put forth.  I am sure that it is not exclusive.  Indeed, I am only drawing from my recent study of 1 John.

Of course, in the immediate context of 1 Jn 1.5, light refers to holiness.  But what might we learn from the larger context of 1 John?

1. God is holy, morally pure and upright, so His children are holy (light) and not ungodly, unholy or unrighteous (dark).  (1 Jn 1.5-10)

2. God as light refers to God as Truth; so His children know, believe, listen to and practice the truth (light) over against error (dark).  (2.4-6; 4.1-6)

3. God as light refers to God as love; so His children love Him and one another (light) and do not hate like the hypocrite or like Cain (dark).  (2.8-10; 3.11-15)

4. God as light refers to God as life; so His children are alive from the dead (light) and do not abide in death (dark).  (3.14-15)

5. God as light refers to the God who gives light or illumines; so His children see the truth of the Scriptures and how to love one another (light) and this in opposition to the blind who reject the truth of the Scriptures, who deny the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and become a cause for stumbling in the lives of the saints and others (dark).  (1.4, 2.2, 7-8, 12-14, 18-27, etc., denoted by John’s certain belief that Christians “know the truth” and that he is referring to what has been written or heard and what he is presently writing to them — Scripture).

 

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