“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.” ~ 1 John 1:5
Explanation of the Text: To think of the contrast between light and darkness as a concept of the Christian life reveals much about the Christian life. John simplifies the gospel message, which came from God, as a contrast of life in the light and life in the darkness. As God is light and the darkness of sin cannot exist in Him, the light exposes sin so that it may be dealt with.
“Light is the first fundamental property created. It sustains life. It allows life. It reveals what is hidden” (1). Light can affect attitude and impact one’s joy. This is seen during the winter months, with the light of day more limited and people began to find their spirits more downcast desiring to more light. So it is to with the Christian life. The further away we get from God who is light, the more downcast our soul becomes, lacking both fellowship and complete joy that John writes of in the previous verses.
But John doesn’t just say God created light. Nor does he say that God provides light. Instead, he says that God is light. Light emphasizes God’s glory which radiates from Him as rays of light, through it one is reminded of God’s truthfulness and purity. In his purity, there can be no speck of uncleanness at all, darkness, that so blackens the hearts of men. It breaks fellowship with God, and yet we have joy because through Jesus Christ, we have been made pure in order to be restored to fellowship with God. This point alone compels us to overflow with joy, impacting our relationships with others as well, thus creating a unified fellowship with other believers.
Examination & Application of the Text: Quite simply, because God is light and in us dwells the darkness of sin, our lives must be turned over to Jesus Christ. As Lord of our life, he cleanses us. This is the basic part of the Gospel message that not only is to be proclaimed, but lived for by us. That means a recognition of our sin and casting it aside in order to live the fullness of life that He provides. Much of this will overlap with the following verses, and thus our discussion will continue in greater detail.
Questions to Consider:
- What darkness dwells in you?
Take an opportunity to thoroughly examine yourself and identify those areas of darkness in your life that cannot exist with God. Perhaps make a list, pray over them, confess them, and keep the list to refer to as we continue on through the rest of chapter 1.
Karen Jobes, 1,2 & 3 John, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 62.