Today’s bible study is from 1 John 1:5: This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
This verse is both simplistic and confounding. It is simple in the fact that it states that in God’s light, there is no darkness. It is confounding in that we have taken this short verse out of context, that we do not know exactly who heard a message from God, and how we are assured that God actually is light. Let’s begin by considering the passage as a whole. John speaks of fellowship, both with God and with one another. Fellowship is closely related in John’s mind with how we are living our lives, and we deceive ourselves when we try to pretend this isn’t so. Walking in the light is the way to have real fellowship with God and each other. In fact, John says that we cannot have God’s truth or his word in us if we are not truthful about ourselves.
Consider how John talks about sin and darkness here. What does it mean for us to walk in the light? Does it mean to be free from sin? Actually no, because John goes on to say in that we are deceiving ourselves when we claim we have no sin. This seems to be following directly on his thought in about walking in the darkness. I think that John is saying that darkness involves deceit, being deceived about yourself and others. When we walk in darkness, we remain in a place of deceit. We are deceived about who we are, and where our source of life and identity truly lies. We say we are in fellowship with God, but we are not receiving His light into our lives.
Now consider the implications of sin. Sin is not trusting God to be our life, not trusting Him to be the true God He has revealed Himself to be. Sin is not just what we do wrong; the deeper part of sin is the lack of trust in God that these deeds spring from. Sin, therefore, is related to this deceit and darkness. Of course, deceit leads to a greater and greater desire to cover up the truth. We can become afraid of the light, because of what it may reveal. This, I think, is why John begins by assuring his readers about the character of God. God is not deceiving us; if there is any light we can count on to be there for us, it is God’s light. It may not be easy for it to shine all the time but, when it does shine, it will lead us to full life, fellowship with God and with others.
John goes on to teach us about sin. When we confess it, God is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So John turns his readers back to the wonderful character of God and expands their understanding of what it means that He is light. God is faithful, just, forgiving, and cleansing. May God’s light shine in a frightened and grieving world. You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series