Friday, February 09, 2024

The Vision (2.9.24): God is Light!


Image: Winter morning, North Garden, Virginia, February 2024

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 1:5-10.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

John declares, “God is light.” What, however, does this mean? Technically speaking, the scientists will tell us that light refers to electro-magnetic radiation that can be perceived or detected by the human eye at certain wavelengths and which travels in a vacuum at 186, 282 miles per second.

The Bible tells us that God created light when he said, “Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3, 14-16).

When John wrote, “God is light,” he did not mean to say that God is part of the creation. What he meant to say is that God is like light. This is true in at least two ways.

First, God is like the light in that he brings clarity and illumination.

Go into a dark basement and grope about and then flip the light-switch, and the things that were hidden are revealed as they are bathed in light. John is saying God is like that and knowing God is like that. Apart from God we are confined by fear and ignorance.

Second, like light God is powerful and even incomprehensible to mere men. Light can be so powerful that we cannot look directly upon it. Look at the sun directly and you will go blind. God is like the light in this way. He makes himself known to us, but we as mere men cannot look upon him directly, lest our senses be scourged.

This is what the hymn writer was getting at when he wrote, “Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes….”

So, when John says God is light, he is saying God is THE only one who allows us to see all things as they truly are. And he is so great and so powerful that we mere men are in no wise able to look upon him directly and comprehend all that he is.

There is one more important part of this statement that needs emphasis. John says he, as an apostle, is conveying this because this is what he heard directly from Christ himself: “This is the message which we have heard from him….”

We might ask when Christ declared, “God is light”? If we look through the Gospels, we cannot find that statement, but we can find in John 8:12 where Christ said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), and where he later said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

At the beginning of John’s Gospel, the apostle refers to Christ as “the light of men,” adding, “And the light shineth in the darkness” (John 1:4-5). Later he says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

God is light. Christ is the light of the world. When we see and know Christ, we see and know God.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

1 comment:

Andrew said...

In 2 Corinthians 4:6, it says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

Some light and knowledge could be said to be the result of EM radiation, but there is something more here. This knowledge of this glory is the result of the possession of a light that is actually within, not requiring the use of the eyes. Thus it says in Micah 7:8, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me." And in Isaiah 60:9, "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."

I'm also reminded of what John the Baptist said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." (John 3:27). And then in Matthew 16, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." I'm sure you know many more Scriptures could be brought to bear on this.