My wife and I have completely stopped watching the news. There was a time when we would make sure the channel was on early in the morning so we could see the latest events in the world. We may have stopped watching because our kids were getting older and would probably want to know what “killed” or “raped” was, and we didn’t want to have to explain those. But I think the overwhelming reason was simply that we got tired of hearing all the stories of darkness in the world.
The world is full of darkness and if something hard/evil hasn’t happened to us then we should consider ourselves fortunate. But just watch the news for the first few minutes and I guarantee you will hear stories of stabbings, murders, and shootings. And we know that those stories are just a smidgeon of all the different variations of darkness that go in other parts of the world. There is some solace that I find from Scripture in a world full of darkness. It is 1 John 1:5 and it says, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” The idea of light here means righteous, without evil. There are two important truths taught in this verse that should give us comfort in a world full of darkness.
The first truth is: God is light. That is a profound statement made by the apostle John. It is one of the few statements in Scripture that proclaim what God is. He is also called Spirit and He is called love. God, in the perfections of His character, is light. John does not say that God chooses the light or that God likes the light, He says that God is light. This means there is no outside source of goodness and righteousness that God adheres to. He is, in fact, what is good and righteous. I think we as Christians make the mistake of thinking that there is some universal standard of right/wrong floating around in the universe and God always picks the right thing to do. We need to remember this verse though. God is light, He is the very definition of what is right.
The second truth is: there is no darkness in Him. John wants to make it absolutely clear that there is no tiny speck of impurity or evilness in God whatsoever. Notice the emphasis by John. He said there is no darkness, but then he adds, at all. Have you ever read the label on those hand sanitizer bottles? They say that they kill 99.9% of bacteria. (I always wonder if the bacteria that I’m touching is the .01%!). But killing 99.9% of bacteria is still very clean and very pure. To say that God is 99.9% light would be an utter blasphemy. He is absolutely, 100% pure and free of any imperfection at all.
The two truths in this verse should bring total comfort to the Christian. No matter what happens in your life you can be absolute sure that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. I think we have our own definition of what should/should not happen and we try to tell God He should do that. The problem is, our view is limited and impure. God’s is not. I think the next time an event or situation happens in our life that causes us grief or hardship we should remember 1 John 1:5.
This verse also has a very important application for us in how we behave as well. If God is light, then we should be light as well. That means being a people of purity, holiness, and righteousness. As we behave like that we reflect the character of God. Also, there needs to not be any darkness in us…at all. We need to strive with as much prayer and effort as possible to root out any sin and any impurities that are lurking in our hearts. As we do that, we reflect the character of God as well.
Pastor Mark Scialabba