Teaching Point One: God is light.
Everybody has a slightly different idea of what it means to go deeper. To some people it means deeper knowledge of the Bible, so they’re looking for meaty studies with lots of Greek words and cross references. To others it means deeper experiences with Christ. They’re looking for greater intimacy with God and fullness of the Holy Spirit and hoping for chills to run up and down their spine in worship. And to others it means going deeper in our practice of the spiritual disciplines—more prayer, more reflection, more fasting. They want more spiritual experiences and soul care. Deeper knowledge. Deeper intimacy. Deeper practice. Real Christians are serious about these.
But John doesn’t start with any of these. The first thing John says is, “You wanna go deeper? Then stop sinning.” That’s not exactly what we were hoping to hear, is it? At least not right away. There’s nothing new and exciting about “not sinning.” But that’s where he begins. If you call yourself a Christian, John says, then start living like one.
So the first topic, or test, that John introduces is the ethical test: How do you live? Let’s follow John’s reasoning as he takes us deeper in our understanding of what it means to be a real Christian.
Read 1 John 1:5–7.
- [Q] Why does John use “light” as a metaphor for God (v. 5), and what does that have to do with the way we live?
- [Q] Look at verse 6: What does the phrase “do not live by the truth” mean?
- [Q] What does verse 7 tell us about what it means to walk in the light?
Optional Activity: To illustrate what it means to live without light, turn off all the lights in the room and close the shades or drapes to block out as much light as possible. While it is dark in the room, ask: How would it affect your life to live in the dark all the time? How could that translate into how you live your Christian life? How does this exercise help you better understand this passage?
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