5a This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you
1st John is an attestation by an eye-witness of what John heard. John is bearing witness that this comes directly from God.
5b that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
So John begins the main part of epistle with a declaration of God’s morally pure nature. It’s not just that God is a light, God IS light. The message here is that God is completely, unreservedly, absolutely pure, with no admixture of sin and no hint of injustice.
We can trust Him
James 1:17 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. He is consistent, and we can count on Him. Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”, Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (AlsoIsa 40:8 Heb 13:8).
We can take refuge in Him
Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. If we will depend on Him, He is able to keep us. Jude 1:24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, He is able to keep our light shining if we will trust Him and abide, remain with Him.
But it requires a choice to remain and abide with Him. Continuing on in 1st John 1 verse 6:
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
Jesus said in John 8:12 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So, Jesus is telling us that if our habitual lifestyle is sinful, then we are in darkness, and therefore must NOT be following Him, because whoever follows Him will never walk in darkness. We must choose to follow Him, to make Him both our Lord and Savior. It’s not enough just to know that He is the light, we must choose to abide, remain with Him.
7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light,
We have fellowship with Jesus IF we walk in the light. Jesus will reach into the darkness to pull us out, and into the light, but He cannot walk in the darkness, since He Himself is light. Jesus doesn’t want us to have anything to do with darkness. But He wants us to have compassion for unbelievers. The example Jesus set for us is to build relationships with people who don’t know Him. When we meet a person who has not yet experienced God’s saving grace, we are to have the heart of Jesus and extend a helping hand at their point of need. Jesus came to our rescue when we were lost. Nonbelievers are spiritually sick (like we were), and they need saving faith in Jesus. They need His love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. But at the same time, we must remember that We won’t be much good to the spiritually sick, if we ignore our own spiritual health. We can’t let unbelievers pull us into unrighteousness. We must walk in the light. We mustn’t join them in sin. (2 Cor 6:14).
we have fellowship with one another,
And so, John’s central purpose is to promote oneness with God in Christ through righteous obedience and to promote fellowship within the congregation (1:3), both with God, in unity with Him, and with each other. His purpose is to encourage them in their faith and walk with God. And that’s what he’s trying to tell us. We must have fellowship, koinonia, participation in Christ, as One Body of Christ. And this fellowship with Jesus is based on following Him, the light in the World.
and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
God is light, and so is His Son Jesus. When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” in John 8:12, he means that we walk with Him in the light, and so progress in our spiritual journey, getting closer to Him, more like Him.
As we abide with Him, we are cleansed from sin—remaining close to Him causes sin to flee as we are given the strength to resist and overcome it through the power, the Spirit of God. And we are cleansed from it by His blood, once and for all at calvary, when we are saved, but the effect is a continual cleansing, as the power of sin is removed from our lives in the process of sanctification.
Let your light shine
It’s our job to proclaim and praise and glorify Jesus before a world that has a tendency to want to resist God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. 15 Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
We have a job to do. If our purpose was just to fellowship with God and enjoy His presence, His Peace, His Joy, then why wouldn’t He just take us to heaven when we are saved? Then we could enjoy fellowship with Him more completely. But He leaves us on the earth so that we can reflect Jesus’ light to other people, and allow them to see the change that He makes in lives.
You are the light of the world
The same Jesus who said I am the Light of the world in John 8:12 and John 9:5 said to His disciples You are the light of the world. We have been chosen to declare the praise of God to a dark world, as Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 2:9 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are the light of the world, first and foremost, because we continue on Jesus’ ministry of being the light of the world.
Light exposes the darkness
One of the effects of light is that it exposes and drives away darkness. John 3:19-20 says 19 And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. 21 But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”
The light reveals the truth, and so those who practice evil want to hide in the shadows. Those who are of the world hate the light and want to get as far from it, and those who bear it, as possible.
See the Light
We all start out this way. But we must accept that we have fallen short of His perfect righteous standards. When we come to Him on the basis of His Righteousness, accepting the offer of the free gift of salvation, making Him Lord of our lives, and savior of our souls, then, as Romans 3:24 tells us, we are 24 [being] justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; Justification is a legal term. God declares us Innocent, in Right-Relationship with Him, Righteous. We are redeemed, as Jesus buys us back from the power of the enemy, as our Kinsman redeemer. And Jesus made propitiation for our sin by paying the penalty for sin, the wages for sin, which is death, which satisfies that righteous anger and offence to God our Creator. Our debt is paid in full. Payment is completed. Tetelestai. And this offer is open to anyone. Even as all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and we all start out life as sinners, with the default destiny of hell, so this offer of being justified freely by His grace is open to everyone who will believe.