And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:5)
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)
We have been looking at the theological proposition, God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. The apostle John, in his ministry to those whose faith had been ravaged by false teachers, and gnostic spirituality, would restore to them the original faith, by presenting to them again the doctrine of the “only true God”in a simple but profound way.
The true God is Light. Therefore an encounter with Him, also leads to a devastating vision of ourselves, in all of our sinfulness. We see ourselves in another light, and it is truly awful, in a Holy sense. All things are seen in their true nature in the light of God, the closer we walk with God, the less we like what we see in ourselves.
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.(Psalm 36:9)
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.(Ephesians 5:13)
Coming to Christ is nothing less than ‘coming to the Light’ of exposure of all that is false, evil, and unholy in us. This is exactly what keeps people from coming to God, they don’t want to ‘be known’, they shirk from the penetrating eyes of the Infinitely Holy God.
Those who are known to live closest to God are the ones most conscious of indwelling sin, consider this prayer from the journal of the evangelist and author (Pilgrims Progress), John Bunyan;
After my previous repentance, there is again one thing which makes me sad; that is, if I most severely examine the best thing I am now doing, in it I discover sins, new sins mingled in the best thing I do. Therefore now, I cannot help but conclude that no matter how proud of myself and how idealistic I was concerning myself and my work, and even if my former living were without blemish, yet the sins that I commit in a day are enough to send me to hell. In such a deep feeling of sins, he cried out: “Unless He is such a great Savior, He surely cannot save such a great sinner as I.”( from Spiritual Knowledge, by Watchman Nee,Christian Fellowship publishers)
The light of God makes us aware of our depravity, and sinfulness, and constantly causes us to turn to Christ, who alone is able to “forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. This is the mark of someone who has truly known “the only true God”; a profound awareness of personal sin and unworthiness.
For another example of this kind of spirituality, consider the dying prayer of John Knox,
O Lord, have mercy on me, do not judge my innumerable sins; amongst them, may you forgive especially those sins which the world cannot reprove. In my youth, my middle age, and until now, how much conflict have I passed through. I have discovered that within me there is nothing besides falsehood and corruption. O Lord, only You are the Lord who knows the secrets of man’s heart. Please remember that of all the sins which I mentioned, not one of them is pleasing to me. I often grieve over them: they are deeply hated by my inner man. Now I weep sorrowfully for my corruption. I can only rest simply in Your mercy.(Ibid)
There are many thousands of confessed christians sitting in evangelical and charismatic churches who know nothing of this, and would not be able to relate to this kind of spirituality. This is because they have not really met God, who is light.
They have instead been initiated into a kind of pallid, all-American, civic religion, which may have galvanised the moral positions they have already held, but has never brought them into a saving encounter with “the only true God”. To a good many of them ,spirituality is about feeling good about themselves, their families, and politics.
We need to pray that the true vision of God be presented again. O That God would raise up fiery prophets to cry out on his behalf again! Pray also that this kind of conviction of sin drive men desperately once again to Jesus, the only Saviour and Lord. God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.
Isaiah and Peter both serve as witnesses to us, that God is light, and that His light is the light of exposure. Their conversion stories also show us another valuable aspect of the Light of God; that is that the very Light that exposes all sin and corruption, will purge it out of us as well, as long as we remain in the Light.
The prophet Isaiah remained in the awful, penetrating light of God’s exposure long enough to behold an amazing sight,
…Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.(Isaiah 6:5-7)
The Light of God, which exposed Isaiah’s depravity also revealed to Him the God appointed answer to it. For isn’t the true burning Altar of God, the cross of Jesus? And the coal upon the lips, doesn’t it correspond to the gospel, that “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”?
So we see that the light both exposes, and overcomes all darkness. Beloved, let us remain in the light .