Blackouts make my youngest daughter nervous. She hates trying to find her way in the dark, where anything might be lurking. She keeps a flashlight on her dresser for emergencies and knows exactly where the battery- powered camping lanterns are in my home office.
Light and darkness are powerful images in John’s biblical writings: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (v. 5). In this metaphor, “light” means truth, life, holiness, goodness, and purity, while “darkness” means lies, death, unrighteousness, evil, and impurity. Similarly, Jesus had said of Himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The next two verses are framed as if/then statements, but not because the “if” is in doubt. Rather, this structure emphasizes the truth or falsehood of the claims made. The point of verse 6, then, is that anyone who claims to be on God’s side but walks in the darkness is lying. “Walking” is a common biblical metaphor that describes daily life activities. How can we discern truth from falsehood? By observing people’s actions. No one who claims fellowship with God can at the same time be living in sin.
The opposite and equal point of verse 7 is that those who walk in the light can be confident that they are truly on God’s side. We’re saved, purified by Christ’s blood of our sins and therefore in fellowship with God, as well as and our fellow believers. We’re following Christ, who is Himself perfectly “in the light.” Claims of knowing God must be backed up by the evidence of righteous lives.
>> A flashlight or table lamp can help you teach a child in your life a memorable spiritual object lesson. First, sit together in the dark, then turn on the light for contrast. Explain that Jesus is the light of the world, and that when we follow Him we walk in the light.
Thank You for bringing us into the light. We would never have wanted You if You had not worked this desire into our hearts. We could never have left the darkness if You had not led us out.