Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #270 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 John 1 today and our focus is on How Can We Have Forgiveness for the Bad Things We Have Done? + The Nature and Essence of God. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Short and sweet passage today. 1 John has a special place in my heart, because it was the first book I ever seriously studied in the Bible back in my college days in the early 1600s. I remember listening to a John MacArthur CASSETTE tape series that was designed to teach you how to study the Bible – I don’t remember everything on that tape, but I remember one of the primary principles: The best way to learn a book of the Bible is to read it over and over again. That is simple, but profound and effective advice that has served me well over the years.
In today’s passage, we learn something important about the nature of God.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. 1 John 1:5
The very substance and and essence of God is light – 100 percent light, with absolutely no darkness whatsoever in Him. Here’s pastor Tony Evans to help us understand what it means that God is light:
“God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.’ If you and I are going to experience God, we must understand the God we wish to experience. John says, ‘let me explain God to you so that there is no misunderstanding here—God is Light’! How much light? So much light that there is no room for any darkness at all; it is complete comprehensive light. Paul calls it Unapproachable Light. For God it’s always 12 O’ Clock noon; it’s never 12 O’ Clock midnight. He only exists in light. Now stick with me … that may not make sense yet, but walk with me through this. God only exists in light, which means He only operates in the realm in which He only exists.
He only exists in light, that’s His field of operation—let me put it that way—He exists everywhere, but I’m talking about His field of operations is Himself, and He is light. So His field … where He operates, is in light. The contrast of that is Satan, who only operates in darkness. So Satan only operates in darkness; God only operates in the light, you need to know that!
Now, light in its essence is pure, uncontaminated, clear and clean. But while light is pure, uncontaminated, clear and clean, it’s simultaneously exposes what is contaminated, what is unclear, and what is not clean. Light by itself is pure and clean. But because it is pure and clean and illuminating, it exposes that which is impure, unclean, and needs to be illuminated.
Anthony T. Evans, “‘The Activation of the Cross’ (Part 8),” in Tony Evans Sermon Archive (Tony Evans, 2009), 1 Jn 1:5–10.
This comports well with another truth about the essence of God we have discussed before, found in Hebrews:
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
God is light – God is a consuming fire. What does this mean for us? In the Hebrews passage, one of the ramifications of this nature of God is that we are to serve God with reverence and awe – because a consuming fire is powerful, frightening, majestic, beautiful and absolutely and utterly pure. John is going to give us another ramification of the nature of God in today’s passage:
6 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 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.
The darkness of sin is absolutely incompatible with the light of God’s essence – the light of His holiness. This is a major problem for us – God is 100% pure, and we are 100% adulterated and impure – so how in the world can we walk in God’s light, if our lives are so characterized by sin? Must we be perfect and live perfectly? Well, John tells us that this isn’t possible:
10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:10
There is no life lived apart from sin – we are all stained by the effects and impact of sin, which brings us to our most important question: If God is light and can have no fellowship with darkness, and if sin causes darkness to infect our very essence, then how is it possible to rid ourselves of this darkness so that we can have actual fellowship with God? Here is John’s answer, one of the most well known passages of Scripture:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
What does it mean to confess? Does it mean we go to a priest and bare our soul, and he tells us to say a certain number of prayers to Mary and repeat the Lord’s Prayer a few times, and then we’re good with God- He cleanses us? NO – that is not what it means, and honestly such a routine is an affront to biblical teaching. The vain repetition of prayer no more cleanses you from sin in God’s eyes than does Windex. What does bring about forgiveness? The key word here is confess – and the Greek word is fascinating. vὁμολογέω homologéō It is a compound word – Homou, which means ‘together’ and Logeo, which means word. It means to say the same thing (or word) together – in other Words, confessing is agreeing with God that you have done wrong. He says you’ve done wrong because you’ve violated His commands, and you AGREE – saying the same thing – yes, I’ve done wrong. Please forgive me – and when we agree with God that we’ve done wrong, and ask for His forgiveness, He not only forgives us, but He cleanses us from the stain of sin! I love Jesus’ parable about two people praying – but only one of them is declared righteous:
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Be like the tax-collector, my friends. As Jesus said – the tax collector – a betrayer of his people – was immediately forgiven by God, because He humbled himself, agreed with God about His sin (calling himself a sinner) and asked God for mercy. And how quickly was that old sinner declared righteous? He was made righteous in God’s eyes before he even got home – while the Pharisee – a man of great outward righteousness and no doubt a doer of many impressive good deeds – he wasn’t forgiven even a little bit.
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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