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Life and Light

Love for light and its children are symptoms of salvation.

“He who loves his brother abides in the light” (1 John 2:10, NKJV). 

What is “true” light? John refers to the new commandment in respect to the true Light. “Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). 

Isn’t light, light? There may be different intensities of light but how is light “true”? Again, the answer is Jesus. Just like the old commandment to love one another is new in Him, so He is the true Light that was to come into the world. 

John highlights Jesus as the true Light in the prologue to his Gospel. Speaking of Jesus as the eternal Word of God, incarnate to give life, John says, “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9). This light is not overcome by darkness but rather overcomes it.

In one sense, Jesus is the true Light in contrast to the shadow of the Old Testament. John the Baptizer as representative of the Old Testament “came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:7–8).

Jesus is also the true Light because He does not merely give light; He is Light. He is the Light of life (John 8:12). He stands in contrast to the darkness of sin that has infiltrated the world and contaminated everything in it.

Darkness has an ethical dimension as a Kingdom quality (Col. 1:12-14). Paul speaks in redemptive terms when he says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8–10).

The Kingdom into which we have been delivered is characterized by goodness, righteousness, joy, peace, and life. As these qualities are found in our King so they are to work themselves out in our lives, including in our relationship with others.

John has us take stock of our attitudes, actions, and ambitions. “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9–11). Love for light and its children are symptoms of spiritual sight and salvation.

How does light relate to life and love?

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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