This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 RSV)


That is the message of the life of Jesus. That is what he came to tell us, and what he imparts to us as we learn to know him. “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” It is put positively and negatively and it is easy to see how that message was incorporated and fulfilled in the life of Jesus. John opens his Gospel with the words: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness can never put it out,” John 1:4-5). That is the glory of this life. Our Lord himself said, “I am the light of the world. If any man follow me, he shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life,” John 8:12). There it is again, a life that is light. Again, he said, “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world and men love darkness and will not come to the light because their deeds are evil,” (John 3:19 KJV).

What, exactly, does this message mean, “God is light”? Obviously the Apostle John expects us to think about this a bit, for he says this is the sum, this is the meaning, of all that Jesus came to do and to be. It is imperative that we understand this, for this is the meaning of the life of Jesus, whether it is his life lived in history, or the life he will live in us right now. It will all come out here, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” Notice something else. John does not say, “Light is God.” It is, “God is light.” You cannot reverse that. If it were, “Light is God,” then, of course, the Indians who greet the rising sun with arms outstretched and burn incense to it are truer worshipers of God than we. No, it does not say “Light is God,” but “God is light.”


That means that what light is, on a physical plane, God is on every level of human experience. If you want to understand the character of God, then observe what light is. What light does, God does. What light accomplishes, God can accomplish in your life. Well, then, what does light do?


Ray Stedman


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