The creation account in Genesis chapter 1 states that the first thing God created was light. Light exposed darkness and became the divisor between day and night. From that point forward, light is an important metaphor in the Bible. It is used 139 times in the Old Testament, and its impact is carried forward into the New Testament. Jesus claimed to be the “light of the world.” Jesus told his disciples that we are the “light of the world.”
The apostle John is especially fond of the imagery, using it in his gospel as well as in his epistles. His assertion that God is light forms the heading to the first division of 1 John.
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7, NLT).
John affirms that God is light—absolute light—without any darkness at all. In reference to God, light is symbolic of God’s glory, purity, holiness, guidance and presence. It has an intellectual dimension. Light is equated with truth, and this light enlightens every person (John 1:4). But light is not just intellectual. It carries a moral dimension. Truth is not just something to know or think about. It is something that demands action from us.
John gets to the heart of the matter in verse 6 and addresses an error in the lives of his audience. According to John, one cannot claim to walk in the light and have fellowship with God and concurrently live in darkness. Antinomianism was a false teaching that had crept into the church. People had come to believe that the human body was simply and envelope that covered the human spirit. The spirit could not be contaminated by the deeds of the body. A person, therefore, could relate to God spiritually independent of the morality of the body.
We face the same kind of challenge today. We will diminish sin, justify sin, excuse our sin, blame others for our sin, or even openly deny sin. John’s point is simple: we cannot claim fellowship with God and simultaneously clutch our sins. That leaves us with this question. Do we take sin seriously? A good God expects good people. Or better said, a holy God expects holy people. I don’t think God expects perfection from his children. But I do believe he expects progress. What are you doing to ruthlessly eradicate sin from your life?