This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.1 John 1:5-7
My two year old son has a very interesting way of talking about sunrise and sunset. Rather than talking about the sun rising or setting or talking he talks about the dark coming in or going. He used to associate the dark coming in with bedtime but since the clocks changed and he has been going to bed in the daylight, it has become increasingly tricky to persuade him that it is bedtime! He often objects saying that the dark hasn’t come in yet. Thankfully in the last few days he’s been a little happier and has managed to explain to me that it’s still light because “the clocks change.” Funny boy!
The verses in today’s reading say much of the light and the dark and how we live our lives. Having introduced his fellowship with Jesus in the preceding verses, John here begins to unpack some of the message that he and Jesus’ other disciples heard from Jesus. His first point is that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” John associates God’s goodness with light. Since there is no darkness at all in God, John is stating that God is completely good; there is nothing at all within him that is anything either than good. The darkness that we see in the world, therefore, all the bad and unpleasant things are not of God; they do not come from God. How could they if there is nothing bad or unpleasant in God’s character?
If we “walk in the darkness,” therefore, if live our lives in a way in which our character is tinged by darkness, by badness, by unpleasantness, we are not living a life that reflects God’s character. If we say that we are Christians, that we follow God and follow Jesus’ example and yet choose to do things that would displease God, then we are liars; we are lying to ourselves, to those around us, and to God. We do not “live out the truth.” These are strong words for all those who think of themselves as Christians, since most, if not all of us, sometimes opt to do things that we know are not pleasing to God, but do them anyway. John tells us that if this is true of us, then we are liars.
In contrast, if we “walk in the light,” if we follow the example of Christ, then we can be included in God’s fellowship, we can be his sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters of Christ. And if we are the children of God, then we will be purified from all our sin, and forgiven all that we have done, through the blood of Jesus, God’s son. When Jesus died on the cross, free of sin, blameless and perfect in the eyes of God the Father, he paid the penalty for the sin of all people. Jesus wiped clean our lives and made us perfect in God’s eyes, so that we might join his kingdom, and share in Jesus’ inheritance. eternal life with his Father in heaven.
I find these words incredibly challenging, since I know that there are times when my words and actions dishonour God. Maybe you find this a challenge too. I am so grateful to Jesus for paying the price of my sin, however, and will resolve to do my utmost to walk in Christ’s light rather than in the darkness of the world. Will you join me?