By: Brian G. Chilton

The concept of light and dark, and their contrast, are found throughout the pages of Scripture. From the opening verses of Genesis, one finds God speaking light into the void of darkness (Gen. 1:3). Over time, God manifested himself to humanity often using light and fire to indicate his presence. God is often identified with light. Isaiah writes, “The Lord will be your everlasting light, and our God will be your glory” (Isa. 60:19). The psalmist notes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear” (Ps. 27:1). God is robed with light (Ps. 104:2) and light dwells with him (Dan. 2:22). John, more explicitly, notes, “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him” (1 John 1:5). While God is light, his presence is not restricted from knowing dark areas. The psalmist pines, “Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you” (Ps. 139:12). Thus, God’s light and his insight penetrates and overcomes even the darkest of areas.

Jesus picks up on this theme and teaches two profound truths. First, he holds that he is light, saying, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As such, Jesus shows that he embodies God’s revelation and his goodness. Second, Jesus also instructs his followers, noting, “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14). The disciples were to be evangelists sharing the gospel and spreading the love of God to the world. I used to think that believers are mere reflections of the light of God, much as the moon reflects the light of the sun. While I still think there is some merit to the claim, an understanding of the Spirit’s work in our lives illustrates the idea that the light shines from the inworking of the Spirit in our lives. As such, we are like torches that flame the light of God in the areas where God places us. More on that to come.

What does it mean to say that “God is light?” Obviously, with the emphasis of divine light that has already been noted in Scripture, God’s light must hold some weighty meaning. Concerning the light of God, three things can be said of God’s light.

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