First world luxury. Some of us have a lot of it, and can’t live without it. Some of us have never seen it. (which would be no one reading this) Some of us think we can live without it until they are rudely awakened by the reality of not having it. That would be me. Internet is a little hard to come by when traveling. Really, it only matters because my daily blogs took a short pause, which in reality does not really matter. Yea. Got that?
I halfway decided that I would blog my way through the book of 1 John. Shortly after deciding that, I left for Bologna and thus no blog. One of my favorite things about working with volunteer mission teams is the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. So far on this trip, I have met a ton of really fun and great Americans, I have built great new relationships with church leaders and members from all over America, developed a new relationship with a great Italian church that I can continue to pray for and with, played music in a house full of different nationalities, and created hopes in myself to do big things in Italy. I enjoy volunteer teams; but I also still enjoy the book of 1 John…..
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with on another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
1 John 1:5-7
I believe this text, and the few verses that follow, are hugely important for the believer, and the believer needs to grasp the depth of their meaning. We often hear about the many names of God or the meaning things we can associate with His name. Light is one of them. God is Light. Jesus said He was the Light of the world. These are not uncommon phrases to our ears, but what do they mean? How do we need to understand them? I don’t claim to give a precise exegesis of this text, but I will share my thoughts on it.
1) God is Light
Again, a phrase we are familiar with. Really I just want to give you a way to think about God being Light. I am hugely keen on analogies and often organize my thoughts into analogies. They just paint such great pictures. Someone once shared an analogy with me that associates with this text. I want to share it with you, but before I get ahead of myself I want to share a few other things.
Science says that darkness is the absence of Light. The Bible also says in the Light there is no darkness. Light illuminates. I do not know enough about science to give an in depth tutorial on light and its qualities, but I know that where light shines, and what it touches, there is illumination. What the Light does not touch, there is darkness. Sometimes though, around the presence of light, we find shadows. Shadows will be an important thing to remember.
We know that God is Light. We know that darkness is the absence of light, therefore there is only darkness where there is no light. So it must be that there is only evil or sin where there is no Light, if we associate darkness with sin. Even in a room where light is present, we can find shadows where objects exists. Sin hides in the shadows.
There is a multiple story house, in which one single light is turned on. The light is on an upper floor in the corner of a room. You are standing outside in the darkness. You walk into the house and from where you are can faintly see a light shining from the stairwell. As you begin to walk closer to the stairwell your eyes begin to adjust to the light and the light begins to shine a little brighter. You notice that there is a bit of dirt on your arm. You continue to walk towards the light, which leads you to climb the stairs. In your ascent, you begin to notice that there is also dirt on your sleeve and you wonder if it is also on your shirt. Eventually you reach the open doorway that holds the light inside. You pause now, as you are now shocked by how dirty you seem to be, though before you were completely unaware. Yet still, the light is drawing you, so you step inside the room. There, fully illuminated by the light in the empty room, you see your filth. Covered head to toe in dirt. The analogy becomes reality when I tell you that in the corner is God Himself. The light is not coming from a lamp, it comes from God, who is Light. The closer you get to the light, the more the dirt is exposed. In the Light, nothing is hidden. Completely exposed, there you stand, welcomed.
God is Light.
2) Christians should not lie.
This is a commandment. I don’t have to explain this much to you. If we call ourselves Christians, then we are claiming to be in relationship with God, to be followers of Christ, to have fellowship with Him. Here in verse 6 John says that if we, Christians, walk in the darkness then we lie. We lie because as Christians we should be in the light. Yet we sin. Therefore we are in darkness. But we should not lie. If and when we walk into the light, that sin is exposed. We fear that exposure. I think there is good reason to fear the exposure.
It is God, “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.” (1 Timothy 6:16) How do filthy sinners approach an unapproachable light? He is all powerful and mighty and just and righteous; it should strike fear in our hearts to approach the unapproachable Light. A healthy fear that is. What is a healthy fear?
Jesus Christ has been made our High Priest, the One who intercedes on our behalf.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
God is Light. He dwells in unapproachable Light. We, sinful people, will be exposed if we step into the light. Even though the Light is unapproachable, we can boldly, with a healthy fear, approach that Light knowing that because of Jesus we will find grace. If we step into that light, everything will be exposed. That is a scary thought, but it was not meant for us to keep our sin in darkness. It was not meant for us to hide in the shadows. It was meant that we be exposed. If we stay in the darkness and shadows, we lie. Believer, you can not stay in the darkness. Unconfessed sin makes you a liar. You can not be in fellowship with God and hide your sin in the shadows. Expose them.
3) Have faith to walk into the Light.
Believer walk into the Light. Verse 7 says that IF we walk into the Light we will be cleansed. If we do not walk into the Light we are not in fellowship with Him. That means two important things.
- As long as we fear confessing our sin, we will stay in the darkness.
- As long as we are in the darkness, we are not in fellowship with God, which is bad, because you are a believer and should be walking with God.
It is a fearful thing to expose sin. By expose I do not mean to announce to the entire world that we have…… fill in the blank. I believe that Jesus Christ is our mediator, and we do not need to tell another human our sin in order to be forgiven. BUT, there is something to be said about allowing yourself to stay in the shadows of only confessing sin to God. It is mostly a matter of accountability. If I share my sin with another believer, together we can bring my sinful heart before God. I don’t need them to confess my sin, but I now have accountability for my sin AND I have taken a step of faith to expose the dark corners of my life. It is a risk, and we should consider wisely who we confess our sin to. But believer, confess your sin.
Safety is not in the darkness. Life is in the Light. We fear exposing those things that we know are wrong because of what we fear it will mean. We feel safe hidden in the shadows because we know that exposure brings humiliation. Fortunately, and by the grace of God, exposing our sin means cleansing and forgiveness. We are not safe until we walk into the Light. Step through the door and let the Light shine brightly on your darkness. Don’t fear the Light.
“Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
“who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
Don’t fear the very thing that Jesus Christ came to do. He came to expose the dark corners of our lives so that the Light would cleanse it.
I am not telling you to shout your sin from the rooftops. I am challenging you to consider who you can share those hidden sins in the shadows of your life with.
Part 2 coming soon….