Skip to content

1 John 1:5-7 – Light and Darkness


Light and Darkness

Text: 1 John 1:5 -7

In the next few verses of 1st John we see:

1. A Divine Mandate

When we teach and preach God’s Word, faithfully and properly, we have a particular and specific mandate – we must only repeat what the Bible teaches.  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you… 

We have no mandate to include our own ideas or philosophies.  There’s no warrant whatsoever for such addition to God’s Word.  John would never have allowed it, and neither should we.  

But we do have apostolic authority – ‘we declare to you…’  There are no apostles today, but preachers who declare the word faithfully derive their authority from God, not from themselves, just as the apostles did.  The phrase ‘we declare to you’ in v3 and v5 are very strong derivatives of the Greek ‘angellomen’ at root it is to ‘announce’ – here it is to ‘herald news of the utmost importance’

So is this message that John is going to give us here about the nature of God and our response as believers.

2. The Primary Attribute of God.

So, what does John tell us here about God, for John’s first task is to speak firstly about God! Before he can talk about us, he must talk about God, about what He has done for us:-

God is LIGHT.  Again, John is simply repeating here what he learned from Jesus.   John 8:11-13  The phrase ‘God is Light’ is not literally found in the Gospels in that form – that doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t say it to John – after all his injunction that it is more blessed to give than to receive is repeated second hand in Acts 20:35, but the Gospels record that He did say, in John 3:19, the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   But what does it really mean to say that God is LIGHT?  Could it be:-

A description of God’s physical presence!  True!  He dwells in unapproachable light!  1st Tim 6:15-16   

A description of the way God reveals Himself to us (mankind).  Without light we cannot see, and God brings His marvellous light to our sin-blinded souls…  True!

A description of God’s MORAL PERFECTION – His Holiness.  Most consider that this is probably what John meant here.   

God has no Internal Darkness.  One of the marks of John’s writings is that he sometimes states a proposition, like when he says, “God is Light” –  then immediately turns that around for emphasis, and states the same truth in a negative format.  So he follows ‘God is light’ with ‘In Him is no darkness.’

God has no Internal Darkness WHATSOEVER.  It’s actually a double negative, which we deplore in English – In Greek, you can do that for emphasis, to drive home a point.  And John does that here.  God is light.  There’s not one tiny scintilla of darkness in him, not anywhere, not even a dot of it.

So, the first thing John wants us to learn about God is that he is LIGHT.  That he is HOLY – morally pure, – so pure that we could never hope to come anywhere near him – God’s nature and character affects the relationship that we have with him for our sin affects our fellowship with a holy God.

3. The Christian’s Lifestyle and Conduct. V6:

Christians must live their lives, every day, in the conscious realisation that the God who watches over them is sinless and perfect – and they are to be reflections of his holiness in the world. But:

How can a believer be ‘walking in darkness?’

It could be someone who is within the visible church, but who is living a lifestyle which is totally contrary to the Gospel.

It could be someone who thinks he is a Christian.   John tells them plainly, that if they say that they are Christians, and they carry on deliberately, wilfully sinning, they are liars.

It could be a real, genuine Christian, who somehow has grown cold, and has gone into a state of spiritual deadness, – and yet be truly saved,

Whichever he means, John is adamant.  If your life does not reflect the holiness of God, you are living a lie, not practising the truth.

What is this darkness like?  It is sin.  Wilful, unconfessed, deliberate sin, – it can be any sin, big or small, it can be something we do, something we say, about others perhaps, or even fostering evil thoughts

Darkness and Light are mutually exclusive.  You cannot have both.  You can’t serve God and Mammon, neither can you walk in darkness, if you have the light of God shining in your life.

4. The Christian’s Assurance. v7

John has turned to the opposite of what he has previously stated.  It is possible for us to walk in the light. Through Christ! Who cleanses us from our sin, through His atoning death on the cross.

So, John lays down the basis of our fellowship with God: Christians should behave according to God’s moral nature, and not sin.  In our next study, we will see that now that our sin has come under the scrutiny of God’s word, we must not ignore it, or cover it up – we must confess it!

If you would like to listen to this sermon please go to:

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: