“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
“God is light,” says John. Pure light. Pure holiness. In other words, there is no evil that can exist in God. There is no such thing as manipulation, lying, cheating, thievery, murder, coveting, bitterness, or animosity. Those things cannot exist in someone that is pure light.
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
And if God is complete light, then that means that we are definitely not. As the Israelites could not approach the altar without an abundance of sacred rituals to make themselves ‘clean,’ so too we cannot approach the throne of perfection, pure light, utter holiness when we are dripping in darkness.
And in this letter, John goes on to tell us that we only deceive ourselves if we presume to live outside of darkness. If we live as if we’re somehow above the brokenness of the world. We deceive ourselves if we think we don’t sin. And not just that, but we make God out to be a liar.
How would we make God a liar? Because He’s told us that we’re broken; that sin is constantly crouching at our doorstep; that we cannot make ourselves holy. If we try to act differently, then we assume He must be mistaken.
Don’t fool yourself, says John. You will not know the light of God unless you recognize the darkness. We cannot know the holiness of God and we cannot understand how to appropriately ‘fear’ that holiness unless we understand how holy He really is.
My husband often laughs at me for this, but I have—what I call—a ‘reverent fear’ of the ocean. A giant mass of uncontrollable waves, terrifyingly sharp-toothed animals, goopy creatures that electrocute you (yes, I’ve been stung by a jellyfish), and then kill-my-appetite salt water is all terribly unappealing to my normally adventurous spirit.
I love the ocean. But I love it mostly from a distance, and with no little amount of reverence.
And it struck me, not too long ago, that I may have more ‘fear’ of the ocean than I do of God.
Wait, what? How is that possible? How is it appropriate for me to know and understand the holiness of a perfect God in whom there is only light, and not fear it? Especially when I am dripping in darkness and most-of-the-time unaware of my own sinfulness?
Here’s the catch; and this is where John wants to lead us.
Jesus declared us clean. He’s made us clean. Because of his atoning sacrifice—because He sacrificed His own blood to make us holy—we can now enter into the Divine Light unafraid, no longer covering our eyes for fear of the holiness but rather revering it and worshipping it.
We can be in the Light and not be afraid. Our darkness has been infused with the light of Christ.
Which means, then, that we should not be surprised when there is deep brokenness, great fragility, and ongoing hurt in this world. When lessons have to keep being learned, when systems continue to be broken, when anger and fear are still the dominant defences, when human beings continue to make grave mistakes and cause deep hurt.
Only God is light. And only God can bring us out of darkness.
What we need is reminders of this Divine Light, that we have each been invited to enter into it solely because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
Thank you, Jesus.
Song: The prayer today is in the form of a song. I came across this new piece by Charity Gayle, and I hope it can be a blessing to you. Listen to the words sung and pray them back to Jesus.
"Thank You Jesus" - Charity Gayle