Posted on August 5, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“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.” (1 John 1:5 NLT)
This is the most profound statement of God’s character, and by it, we can know exactly who God is. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave,” he shows how light is the method by which we learn, whether by forms of light, like the fire casting shadows on the wall or by the sun, the ultimate source of light that sustains life itself. In each case, light is manifested as illuminating, revealing, warmth, power, vibrant, sustaining, comprehensive, and central, just to name a few characteristics of both the fire and the sun. One website even boasts of ‘1000+ adjectives just to describe the sun.’ Now, if this created star is substantiated this way, imagine what the One who created it is like..? And, since creating is an act of choice, the Creator is a rational being capable of the most extraordinary possibilities; just look around you at His creation, look in the mirror at the unique and wonderful person looking back in the reflection. Look at how much we know about God already in this one short paragraph… and all this looking or learning is not possible without light.
Light is also how we describe concepts such as brilliance, purity, holiness, and perfection. When John tried to explain God on the Throne, he pulled out all the stops and named every brilliant and precious jewel he could acknowledge (Rev 4:3-6). As beautiful as light is, providing such attributes as warmth and security, we also know it is potent, causing grave damage and death if we are not veiled to its nature. A little SPF 50 goes a long way to preventing an inconvenient burn of our skin, and some of us have seen the consequences of 2nd and 3rd-degree injuries; can you fathom what standing in the presence of light itself would cause..? No wonder Isaiah cried out, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Isaiah 6:5) The presence of God, who is light or holiness, made vulnerable the truth of Isaiah’s sinful nature.
At this point, we can understand God is absolute perfection. So, to have the fellowship He desires with us requires we be perfect as well… or what John calls, ‘Walking in the light.’ The fellowship we are talking about is not sharing a meal or hanging out at Starbucks, the word means ‘Oneness’ or of the same mind. True fellowship with God is to live in agreement with His Word; to be holy as God is holy. It is for this reason John writes, “if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) The word ‘confess’ here means to ‘say the same thing as God about our sin.’ It is this unity with His Word that cleanses us of living in the consequences of our disagreement, the same way water washes away the grime of the pigpen.
Jesus explained this by going one step further when He stood and shouted to the crowds during the last day of the Feast of Booths; He declared, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” When he said, “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.” The Word of God is not just a book of knowledge, but a living being; It is Jesus Christ who is the explanation of all things. When Jesus was ascended, He promised those who believed in Him would receive another like Him, who would be their counselor and advocate before God’s Throne. Jesus confirmed this by stating, “When the Spirit of truth (Word of God) comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what He has heard. The Spirit will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.'” (John 16:13-15 NLT) When we live in harmony with the Spirit, humbly living in agreement with His leading us through God’s Word, and living out the life of Christ by His abiding presence, we will know unity or fellowship with God.
John amplifies the impact of this truth when he declares, “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 (each agreeing with God about our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves), and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7 NLT)
Someone commented on a devotional I wrote this week that I was delusional, referring to my belief in God and what His Word says about the seriousness of sin. They claim we have not sinned, which John challenges as paramount to “calling God a liar and showing that His word has no place in our hearts.” (1 John 1:10) Honestly, I know I am a sinner. I can’t go through one hour without having multiple thoughts that leave God out of my plans and magnify my desire for autonomy. I am sure glad that I don’t need to keep a spreadsheet of my sins like I have to track my weight and times for the cardiologist, I only need to agree with God that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. Once that is established, I am motivated to make more room in my life for The Spirit, who moves in and begins to clean house in my mind. He pulls back the veil on what in my life disagrees with God by letting in the light of understanding from God’s Word. As I walk in step with the Spirit in all truth, my life becomes light as God is in the light, and I step boldly into His presence and enjoy fellowship (oneness) with Him. This is all possible because Jesus laid down His life for you and me. He took on the cost of our sin. And, He graciously gives His righteousness, for those who believe, to put on. This is what John means when he declares, ‘the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.’
I love the thought of hanging out with Jesus. I can imagine getting coffee together and discussing the theological truths on our cups. But this is not fellowship; it is made possible because of fellowship, or being of one mind with God. Without this element, we would be miles apart, not because Jesus doesn’t love me, but because the truth is not in me… by my own choice. You want what God offers? Then agree with Him about your sin, and live in the light, as God is in the light. Then you will have fellowship with each other, through the cleansing blood of Jesus, his Son.
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies, and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Think About This: “To call yourself a child of God is one thing. To be called a child of God by those who watch your life is another thing altogether..” – Max Lucado
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. -1 Peter 2:9-10
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.