This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5
“Let there be light!” was one of the first creation commands. Obedience followed instantly.
“Do not come any closer!” was the command to Moses from a burning bush. Why not? “The place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Who said that? “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).
And Moses quickly hid his face—much like a child might bury his face in a pillow after seeing a lightning strike.
Then there was the nightly pillar of fire that led Israel to the Promised Land. In daylight, it became a dazzling bright cloud.
How could we forget that the face of Jesus shone like the sun at his transfiguration? Or that his clothes became as white as the light? (Matthew 17:2)
“God is light,” the Bible explains. “In him there is no darkness at all.”
This is more than just a description of the holy God. It is to be a description of us.
The apostle John went on to say, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie…”
There is a kingdom of light, and there is a kingdom of darkness. There is a Lord of glory, and there is a prince of darkness.
We belong to one or the other. We follow one or the other. Jesus warns against thinking we can belong to both at the same time. “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
To some people of his day, Jesus spoke the frightening words, “You belong to your father, the devil…” (John 8:44). Might he say this to us?
At my Baptism, I was asked, “Do you renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways?” My godparents answered for me: “Yes!”
But does that answer still stand? How often did I not visit the kingdom of darkness? How often followed its prince into temptation? Like a fallen Peter, how often did I act as if I didn’t even know the Holy One of God? Am I kidding myself when I say I am a Christian? Might I be lost to the darkness?
The evil one would smile and shout, “Yes! The evidence is damning.”
But Satan is not the judge. Jesus says of him, “For he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He lies now.
The restored Peter tells us: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
The apostle Paul writes: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13).
Then he lays it out for us: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
The verses pile up. The truth sinks in: “We are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Why not? We belong to the heavenly Father, “And the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Wonderful news! Best possible news! Life-changing news.
Now, amidst a crooked and depraved generation, our Father calls upon us to shine like stars.
“Shine like stars” (Philippians 2:15). We belong to God—who is light.
We should show it.
Prayer: Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows, continue to change us—that more and more we shine forth your light in our life. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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