This message, which John is about to convey to us, is the same message which was taught to him (John and the apostles and all others who listened to Christ), by Jesus Christ.Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God in the flesh. John goes into great detail in the book of John regarding the identity of Christ.
And that message summary is that ‘God is light.’ This immediately sets up a contrast. There is light and there is darkness. In the light, there is no darkness. In the darkness (in its purest sense) there is no light. We won’t go into all of the little games of half light. That is not in view here. We have pure light and then we have no light, which is darkness.
The contrast which John is going to establish is the sin, or mans righteousness, in our life verses the purity of righteousness of God, which is light without defect.
So in pure light there is no defect, no flaw, no deceit, nothing hidden from view.
In darkness (total darkness) there is nothing seen, because without light, no one can see anything. But we need to go one step further. This is a perception concept also. With God all of the perceptive faculties are available. In the concept of total darkness, then no perception faculties are available.
So again, we have an illustration of having truth in its purest form, and the ability to see it, identify it, and then understand it. Without light, then truth cannot even be seen, let alone identified or understood. Total darkness is a total isolation from light, and therefore any life within the sphere of total darkness, is impossible to live for an extended period of time.
And living in darkness, then one cannot know where he is, where he has come from, or even where he is going. A person is totally lost, totally isolated, totally at the mercy of the jungle which is the fundamental rule of darkness.
In order to learn anything in life, you have to have light. In order to learn anything in life, you have to have Gods Word in your soul. That (Gods word) is the only source of light, and therefore the only source from which you can see life and the truth of life. In order to function in life well, you have to have Gods Word ‘functioning’ within your soul. It is not enough to just know something, it has to be active and operational within your life.
In darkness, or the environment in which you will live if you choose to ignore Gods Word, then you have no clue as to what anything in life means. You think you do, that is to say, you convince yourself that you know what is going on, but then that is merely the function of your own personal beliefs, and imagination, and even your wishing.
Remember that within this world, light (Gods Word), has an influence over life in many ways. There are the concepts of divine establishment principles (to offset the rule of the jungle), and there are concepts of moral codes (to offset the morals of the jungle). So, by grace God has given us all something to use in our life and to have something of a life, even if we reject God throughout our life.
But there is far more to life than just getting by in the jungle.
17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, NASB
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; NASB
1 Tim. 6:16
16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. NASB
To the negative person, God is a God of darkness, an unknown Being. He is a power to be blindly propitiated, not a person to be known and loved.
To the philosopher He is an abstraction, an idea, not directly cognizable by man.
To the unbeliever He is a God who hides Himself, not light, but a consuming fire.
To the mature believer alone He is revealed as light, absolutely free from everything impure, material, obscure, and gloomy. Light was the first product of the Divine creative energy, the earnest and condition of order, beauty, life, growth, and joy. Of all phenomena it (light) best represents the elements of all perfection.
So John emphasizes the great announcement with an equivalent negative statement, ‘In Him, there is no darkness.’
He doesn’t say, ‘in His presence,‘ but ‘in Him.‘ Darkness exists, physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual; there is abundance of obscurity, error, depravity, sin, and its consequence, death. But not a shade of these are ‘in Him.‘ The Divine Light is subject to no spots, no eclipse, no twilight, no night, as a ‘source’ of light it cannot in any degree fail.
Now with this in mind, our topic of discussion in 1 John, is fellowship. In fellowship there is light (no darkness). Out of fellowship, there is no light (only darkness). The two are mutually exclusive. There is but one prescribed environment in which believers can and should live their lives, and that is in fellowship. Many people believe in Christ and they fall short of developing their spiritual lives because they fail to learn the concept and function of fellowship.
These are the folks who say such things like, ‘Doctrine doesn’t work.’ ‘God doesn’t hear me.’ ‘God doesn’t care.’ ‘I’ve tried the Bible and it just does not work for me.’ And the problem is not with the Bible, but with their function in their spiritual lives, or rather their lack of proper function.
Zechariah sums it all up in his opening words.
2 ‘The LORD was very angry with your fathers. 3 ‘Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts,‘ Return to Me, ‘declares the LORD of hosts,‘ that I may return to you, ‘says the LORD of hosts. NASB
Returning to God is more than just opening up the Bible and wishing for Him to do something for you. It is a commitment of your life to God through the way you think and act in life. We put together a checklist a long time ago. If I remember correctly, it has 12 points in that check list (Hummm, does anyone know?). I wonder just how many have printed it off (or have even read it) and committed their life to obedience to ‘every’ point in that checklist??
Now answer Zechariah’s question. If you are not living the spiritual life correctly, then you won’t grow up spiritually. Why would you expect anything from God, if you won’t comply with the responsibilities He expects from you?