Dan Popp
God is light
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By Dan Popp
April 3, 2017

We're often told that "God is love." But John, the Apostle of Love, didn't give us that statement until Chapter 4 of his first letter. He started that Epistle with an equation we don't hear much these days: "God is light."
    This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7, NAS95)
Why is this important? Because many of the people telling us that "God is love" mean something other than love, as described in the Bible. Real love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). If you love Me, Jesus taught, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

False love is disintegrated by the whisper that God is light.

In the Bible, as in everyday usage, "light" is a metaphor for different things: factual knowledge, life, blessing, wisdom, and so on. But it usually seems to be connected with goodness, righteousness, and truth.
    This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. (John 3:19-21)
Jesus makes a promise to us: I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (John 8:12b) Conversely, it must be true that those who "walk in the darkness" of willful ignorance, false doctrine and sin are not followers of Jesus, no matter how many decades they've attended church, how much money they've given, or how large a ministry they may have.

We simply cannot follow Truth and live in error.

Let me hover for a moment over this topic of deadly doctrines masquerading as Life. The psalmist never sang, "My group's doctrine is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Jesus shot blistering rebukes toward those who substituted the dim candle of tradition for the blazing sun of Scripture. No, the unfolding of Your words gives light.... (Psalm 119:130a)

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20)

And the sure light never changes. It doesn't "evolve" with the social fashion of the times. It doesn't waver in the slightest to accommodate human weakness and rationalization. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)

Maybe "God is light" comes before "God is love" because we need to know it first. We need to understand – truly believe, down to the marrow of our bones – that we are sinners, before the concept of a Savior even makes sense to us. We have to accept that we are darkness before we can become light.
    For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:5-10)
"God is love" is an important truth (imagine if Muslims could say the same!), but it's only a subset of the revelation, "God is light." His love springs from His goodness and righteousness and truth. Those who reject His light reject the love included in that light.

© Dan Popp

 

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