Tonight’s Bible study looked at just 2 verses: 1 John 1:5-6 TNIV. Here, we looked at the fact that the message John passed on was one he had heard directly from Jesus and therefore the message he declared was truth and needs to be heeded. That message declares the basic truth that God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.
John makes other ‘God is…’ statements (John 4:24 TNIV declares that God is Spirit and 1 John 4:8 TNIV declares that God is love.) These are all statements of the absolute nature of God. In the Old Testament, light is seen in creation (Gen 1:3 TNIV); it is seen in the burning lamp which passed between the piece of the parted victim in God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:17 TNIV) and God went before Israel in a pillar of fire in the wilderness wanderings (Ex 13:21 TNIV). Another instance is when God descended in fire upon Sinai (Exodus 19). John often uses both positive and negative statements to make a point: in this instance, contrasting light with darkness (which is, after all, the absence of light) – see John 1:7–8 TNIV, John 3:18 TNIV, John 10:28 TNIV , 1 John 2:24 TNIV, 1 John 5:12 TNIV for other examples of this. Clearly, if God is light, there can be no darkness in Him.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Light of the world (see John 1:1-5 TNIV, John 8:12 TNIV, John 9:5 TNIV, John 12:35-36 TNIV). In doing so, He is implying deity with God. However, He also referred to His disciples as the light of the world (Matt 5:14 TNIV). Here, the ‘you’ is plural, but the ‘light’ is singular, indicating that it is the church in a collective sense which is the light of Christ now that Christ is no longer on the earth. We are Christ’s ambassadors or representatives on earth and must reflect His nature in all that we are and do. Since He is light, we must also be light!
This has definite repercussions for how we live! Our walk must match our talk. If we are claiming that fellowship with God which we discussed last time – an intimate communion, a close association – then we must reflect God. For us to walk in darkness is to be living a lie (as the Message version puts it, ‘we’re obviously lying through our teeth–we’re not living what we claim.’) That does not mean we must live hermits’ lives in isolation, eschewing all contact with non-Christians (or how can they hear the message of salvation?), but it does mean that we have to be careful about how we live (see 2 Cor 6:14-16 TNIV). Quite how we manage to live dual lives – claiming fellowship with God but still sinning – is often a mystery to us, but it’s clearly possible! David’s affair with Bathsheba is one example of how easily we can be led astray from God and not even realise it. We need to ask God to search us and shine His light into every area of our lives so that we can reflect His light to a world in darkness.