God Is Light - 1 John 1:5-7
John began his first epistle by emphasizing the reason the recipients of his letter could be confident concerning what had been proclaimed to them. What John and others proclaimed about the Word of Life was based on eyewitness evidence. They heard, saw, beheld, and touched Jesus. Followers of Jesus can, therefore, have fellowship with the Father and joy because the Word of Life was manifested and proclaimed.
The Word of Life was manifested to John and others. And the Word of Life spoke. John wrote, “And this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Jesus revealed God. This was the focus of His prayer in John 17. Jesus said, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You have Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me” (John 17:6-8). Jesus revealed the Father to the apostles and John wanted the readers of his epistle to know that he did not come up with the idea that God is Light. It was revealed to him by Jesus.
What does it mean that God is Light? David Jackman suggests that this is “a picture of his perfect moral righteousness, his flawless holiness.” Likewise, Colin G. Kruse suggests that Jesus’s revelation concerning God is “essentially one about the character of God.” The declaration that God is Light is a statement about His purity and perfection. Why did John want believers toward the end of the first century to know about God’s purity and perfection? He wanted them to know that their conduct matters. In fact, our conduct will relate to whether we know God or not. He wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not do the truth” (1 John 1:6). It is impossible to have fellowship with the Light if we are walking in darkness. John’s statement that God is Light reveals that believers should strive to be pure and perfect like Him. John wrote, “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 1:7). Fellowship and forgiveness are blessings for those who strive to be like the Light.
John wrote his first letter so that our joy may be made complete (1 John 1:4). There is great joy in knowing that our Father is Light—He is pure and perfect. And there can be joy when we strive to live like Him.