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
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
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