Links Daily Devotional

Our God and Light

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, NIV)

Absolutes make us uncomfortable.

I am one of those golfers who have seen enough good rounds slip away in the closing holes to ever say, “I’m playing so well” before all 18 holes have had their say. It’s not about avoiding a jinx, as I give no avenue to superstition. Rather, it is about speaking the truth. Let the round fall apart, and I’ll tell you I played a nice 15 holes; that’s an absolute I can live with.

Maybe this is what makes it so hard for the people of earth to believe in the God who created it all. “I believe,” the father desperate for his child’s healing told Jesus, “help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It’s a both-and relationship, our faith and its faltering. And I wonder if much of that faltering stems from our inability to grasp God in his absolutes.

Darkness does not have to rule us. Instead, we can live in the light of salvation and the light of God’s love. In 1 John 1, we return to our recent theme of darkness and light in Scripture. Indeed, John’s opening foray into the matter is developed and adamant. God is light—and we can choose to live in that light or live in the darkness.

First, though, we must reckon with this God. In him, John wrote, there is only light and “no darkness at all.” If this is true in the way that the Bible’s writers speak of darkness and light, then God is perfect. He is without sin, without guile, without error. He is not tainted by any character flaw or ill action, and there is no deception to be found in him. It’s remarkable to think of God to this nth degree. His perfection both comforts and disarms us. How can we stand before such a God? We cannot. But in his love he will lift us up.

If we are willing to see God in this way—as the perfect light—then we can move into making the most important of all choices: Will we have fellowship with him?

If the answer is yes, we cannot ourselves walk in darkness. To do so, John wrote, is to lie. Pretenders only, we “do not live by the truth” (1 John 1:6).

If we want to have fellowship with the absolute God, we must “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (verse 7). This makes for fellowship with the Father and the Son, as well as with one another.

Does that last idea make you balk? Perhaps not, but it should make you sober. For as John’s letter continued, he pronounced quite forcefully, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates brother or sister is still in the darkness” (1 John 2:9). But in the reverse of that reasoning, he set us up for our own absolute: “Whoever loves his brother walks in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble” (verse 10).

The light within us is not, of course, our own. We are far too steeped in the darkness of our sin nature for that—except that we have been set free in Christ! Darkness does not have to rule us. Instead, we can live in the light of salvation and the light of God’s love. In doing that, we are lit ourselves, and that lighting shows up in how we love others.

Jeff Hopper
October 19, 2015
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