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.…
1. When the source of light is considered we have an emblem of the vastness, the ubiquity of God. How insignificant is man in his lofty aspirations and his feeble powers as he walks in the midst of this vastness!
2. The analysis of the spectrum unfolds to us the fact that a ray (called white) is made up of a number of coloured rays; and further observations show that combined with this white ray there is also a ray of heat, and the chemical ray called actinism, which gives vitality and paints the lines of life and beauty. The natural and moral attributes of God, such as His omnipresence, eternity, spirituality, and His benevolence, justice, truth, and others, form to us the only conceptions of God's character which we can realise. Without a knowledge of these God has no appreciable relation to us, and we fail in our attempt to conceive it. But as we look to the analysis of the white light, and of the combined ray, to tell us of the physical properties of the sun's rays, so we need such intermediate knowledge of God's attributes to realise a knowledge of the perfections of His character, and of the unity of the mysterious persons in One, that God may be known to us.
3. When the diffusion of light is considered, we have the most perfect illustration which nature can afford of the immediateness of God's communications with us. John here, when the undulatory theory was unknown, and any notion of the velocity of its influence, conceived light as emanating from the sun — "shining forth," filling the heavens and pervading the face of the earth, and at times intercepted and darkness intervened. But how much higher than this are our conceptions of this diffusion raised, under more exact knowledge, when we learn that the actual velocity of light in its passage from the sun to the earth is at the rate of one hundred and ninety-three thousand miles per second, a speed which would belt the earth in the space of one-eighth of a second. Yet, quick as this velocity may appear, it is tardy in comparison with God's communications with us. "When they call I will answer!" Here is no waiting, no passage through an intercepting medium.
4. With equal force does the figure unfold to us a view of God's universal knowledge. Light is like God, inasmuch as it reveals and exposes to view every object upon which it falls. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth." "His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men." "For the Lord God is a sun," discovering, enlightening, and cheering the whole created universe.
5. But the most prominent feature in this analogy is the relation of light with God's infinite purity and goodness.
6. But the teaching of the text is not all hidden under these material comparisons and contrasts; for, lifting us to a higher view, the relation in which God stands to the Christian in his daily course of spiritual life — a life of purity — is directly intimated.
(1) The Christian is here supposed to be walking before God in harmony and perfect confidence with Him, in a walk comprising the sum of his motives, his aspirations, his actions.
(2) Not only does he walk with God in the light of Divine knowledge, but also in that of Divine purity.
(3) This walk is, like light, to be constant and unvarying, as the little intruding preposition "if" preceding the sentence implies — "if we walk in the light."
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.