Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday, January 18 ~ tammi

Today's Bible In a Year reading: Genesis 35-36; Psalm 14; Matthew 14
Today's scripture focus passage: 1 John 1:5 ~ "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
Accompanying MacArthur sermon: God: The Source of Light

Well.  It comes as no surprise that Johnny Mac can preach for almost an hour on just one verse, but I'll tell ya, trying to figure out what I was going to say about just this one verse was intimidating!!  I have to admit, this one verse by itself didn't really say much to me.

I wonder if partly that's because I've never not been hearing and/or learning about God in my life.  I tend to skim over many verses like these, not necessarily because the significance is lost on me (though I'm not delusional enough to say that's never the case!), but simply because the significance has been long assumed.  I mean, we already know this, right?

It's no secret that I've become a huge fan of MacArthur's teaching, but I found myself getting impatient in this sermon, feeling like it seemed to not really focus on the actual verse.  But then I started thinking, what if I hadn't been raised in a home that spoke Christianese and been speaking it relatively fluently ever since?  What if I was just learning the lingo?  Suddenly, it was much more beneficial to make the effort to study and understand the importance the Bible places on light, and its equation to life; The Light ~ Jesus Christ ~ to eternal life.

So what DOES it mean when the apostle John says that God is light, and why does he include the seemingly obvious opposite truth "in Him there is no darkness"?

In the Bible, we see light equated with two things:  life and truth.  So God is light, because He is the Source of our physical lives as Creator, and the Source of our spiritual lives as Savior.  Jesus is light because it is through Him that God was clearly revealed to us, and the gift of eternal life was made available.  The Gospel is light because it is the truth about us and God, and when our eyes are opened and we believe it, it gives us the life Jesus offers.  WE are light because others hear the Gospel from us, and see it lived out in our everyday lives.  (at least, that's the way it's supposed to work!)

The darkness, of course, is everything God is NOT.  Anything Jesus is not.  Anything WE are not, or should not be.  And I think the reason John mentions it alongside what God IS, is because he's setting up for the following verses.  He's about to give a series of contrasts that will give people a kind of checklist, if you will, to know what true salvation looks like in a person's life.

MacArthur says, "John is trying to protect the churches... from deceivers, false teachers, false prophets, liars.  John's passion is for the truth.  And he wants to expose the liars.  And so this whole epistle is at the very foundation of the safety of the church.  It is being able to distinguish who really has eternal life.  Who really has the light.  Who is really in the fellowship.  And who is not.  False teachers are successful because they claim to be in the light.  They claim to know the truth.  They claim to have the life of God, to be possessors of eternal life.  And we're going to see that the first test that John applies to determine whether somebody is really in the light, really  possesses the life, really has received eternal life is their attitude toward sin."  (emphasis added)

You get a glimpse of where this is headed, but he goes on to use some very strong language as he outlines those contrasts.  Language that, quite frankly, makes me uncomfortable when I think about good people I know.  And when I think about my own life.

Get ready.  I believe we are in for some serious toe-crunching and soul-searching in the coming verses!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: Genesis 37-38
Monday's scripture focus passage: 1 John 1:6-7


Miriam said...

Oooohh, yes, toe-crunching... what is MY attitude toward sin? I'm going to be thinking about that.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Denying sin, minimizing sin, trying to cover up our sin - all something that we are guilty of at times, but will never be a pattern or way of life in a true believer.

God is Light - Truth, holiness, purity in everything and in every way. And we need to walk in that Light.

Definitely toe crunching ahead!

Pamela said...

I think you are so right about "Christianese" and it is very clear to me as I share Bible stories and devotionals with my Grade 1 friends. Many of them have never been to church and they ask me good questions about what they are learning and it reminds me how important it is to get back to the "basics" in a way a child can understand. What a privilege I have to be able to answer their questions honestly.