1 John 1:5-10
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
It seems a very simple thing to say that "God is light," etc. We almost wonder at the Bible taking so much trouble to say it. For, we might think, how could God be otherwise? How could we imagine God to be imperfect, wanting in goodness, and holiness, and wisdom, and truth? How could God be God unless He were all-perfect — light without s shade of darkness? And this is true. But how is it that we have come to have these thoughts of God? It is that the gospel has become so much a matter of course to us, that its truth has come to seem to us our own thoughts. But it was by no means so plain a truth to the world when St. John wrote his Epistle. He wrote when the world believed in idols and false gods without number. And those false gods were not thought of as we think of God. They were believed to be not more perfect, not more holy, not more good, than the men who worshipped them. But those days of idolatry and ignorance are past; and perhaps we think that we do not need to be reminded that God is light — perfectly pure and holy and true and good. We do want to be reminded that there are those still who do not in their hearts believe that God is light; for is it not so, that instead of really believing that God is light, without stain, or shade of sin, we often make Him out in our thoughts to be what we like and wish Him to be? What does the sinner wish God to be? He wishes God to be kind and indulgent to his sin; to be a God who always rewards and never punishes; who will do good to us, whether we obey Him or not. Do we never sin, hoping that after all God will not think so severely of our sin as the Bible seems to make out that He will? Do we never comfort and flatter ourselves with such general excuses as that God is merciful, and will not be hard upon us? Do we not, instead of taking the Bible, and reading there the true character of the God whom we worship, make an image according to our own imperfections and sins, and call it God? Is this the God who "is light, and in Him is no darkness"? Can we be said really to believe in Him when we treat Him as if He were foolish, and could not see through our cunning devices, and could be flattered into good humour with us, and be prevailed upon to treat us as favourites? Again, what a sad show of our real thoughts about God is to be found in the manner of our worship and in our prayers! If He "is light, and in Him is no darkness at all," what must He think of worship which only pretends to worship and honour Him? of prayer which does not really ask in spirit for the thing it speaks about? God is what He is, whatever we may think; and earnestly ought we to strive and pray that we may know Him as He is, and always think of Him as He is.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.