1 John 1:5–10 – “What is Light?”

“Light is electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength that may be seen by the normal unaided human eye.” It is light that reveals the world around us. Without light we are in the DARK!

The apostle John said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” What in the world was he saying? Well, in the first verses of his letter the apostle John said that they had “heard,” “seen with their eyes” and “handled” the “Word of Life” [Jesus]. He went on to say that he was “declaring” or telling us what he had heard from Jesus. Then he said:

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

“This is the message” that the apostles heard from Jesus. This is what he is “declaring” to us. Jesus said that “God is Light.” Now that is profound! Note, He did not say “light is God.” So what does he mean? The apostle is using the word “light” as a figure of speech, to describe God. In other words, it is God that reveals the truth about the world around us. Without God we are in the dark about life, about who we are and about God Himself.

So, if God shows us the truth, how does He do that? In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” God reveals the truth through Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

The apostle said, “The things we saw and heard from Jesus, who was revealed to us, we tell to you” (1 John 1:2-3). For more than 3 years John had followed Jesus. He was there at the crucifixion. He was in the upper room when the risen Jesus appeared. He was an eyewitness! Now he is telling us that it should be as life changing for us as it was for them. He points out that many were confused about what this means. Some said, “We have fellowship with Him” (v 6).

That is they may have said that they were “Christians” and had fellowship with Jesus, but they still “walk in darkness.” Maybe they just went to church or did what they thought was right. But, they were not trusting Jesus to reveal the truth. Many do that today. The apostle says that if we are doing that, “we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words we are really not a Christian. Why? Because Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). A person may say they are a Christian, but just saying it does not make it so. John says Christians “walk in the light as He is in the light” (v 7). That is, they trust Him enough to allow Him to change their life. Can you trust the all-knowing Creator to lead you in life? If you do trust Him to do that, then “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses [you] from all sin.” That is good news! Jesus paid the price for your sin when He died on that cross, and He said, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). There is nothing to add!

A second mistake we might make is to say, that now that we are trusting Jesus to change us, “we have no sin” (v 8). Even while allowing Jesus to light our way, we “fall short” of God’s plan for our life. That is what “sin” is. It is failing to be all that God has planned for us. If we think we have become sinless, “we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” That is, we do not know what God’s Word says. We don’t understand what God’s plan really is for our life.

A third mistake some may make is saying that they have never sinned (v 10). God’s word says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s plan for their life” (cf. Romans 3:23). So, if we say we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and His word is not in us. This is not good! So, what is the solution? We need to see that God has a good, acceptable and perfect plan for each of our lives (cf. Romans 12:2). If we ignore God’s Word, it may be evidence that we are really not a Christian. But, even when we allow Him to lead us, we will fall short.

There are two things we must see. First, “it is the blood of Jesus Christ His Son [that] cleanses us from all sin” (v 7). It is not our efforts. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). None of us have anything to brag about. It is all about God’s love for you! He did it for you. The victory is won. You only need to “walk in that victory.” It would be a shame to miss out on so great a love.

Second, when we do fail, we need to admit (confess) it to God (v 9). If we trust the Light, then we can trust Him even in our failures. God is “faithful” to His promises and He is “just.” The price for sin has already been paid by Jesus. “Confessing” (admitting) our sins to God is in reality a part of embracing His Word. It is seeking His “Forgiveness” and “cleansing.” If you do not see your need, you only fool yourself.

Once you grasp what it means to “walk in the Light,” and “practice the truth,” you will see Him at work, changing who you are from the inside out. You will begin to experience that fellowship with Him. That fellowship brings lasting joy. God says that in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (without end, Psalm 16:11). We will see later on that the apostle John will tell us that when we experience this fellowship and that joy, we can KNOW that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

What doing with your life? You may see jail as an interruption of what you want to do. Or you could see it as God at work in your life. It can be a starting point of a new life. It is up to you!