by Spiros ZodhiatesWalking in the Light-Part 1
Editor's note: This is part one of a four-part exposition of 1 John 1:5-8.
"This then is the message which we have heard from Him and we keep declaring to you, that God is light and in Him there is no consequence of darkness at all" (1 John 1:5 a.t.).
The verb akoúo, to hear-which is in the perfect tense, meaning that we heard at first and continue to hear-also means to give heed, to obey (Matt. 18:15; John 18:37; 1 John 4:5, 6). Only as we heed what Christ says do we desire to proclaim that God is light (John 1:9).
The word for "darkness" here is not skótos (4655) which is the more commonly used word, meaning physical darkness (Matt. 27:45) or moral darkness[sin] (Matt. 4:16; John 3:19). The word used in 1 John 1:5; and also in 2:8, 9, 11, is skotía, which refers to the consequence or result of sin. It is the state in which all of us are obliged to live in this world of suffering and death which resulted from Adam's sin (Rom. 5:12; 8:20-22).
God is light and in Him there is no sin as there is in us, in spite of the fact that we are related to God through the spiritual redemption Christ has promised for us. As great a saint as Paul was, he confessed in Romans 7:20 that sin dwelt in him, the Adamic nature which prompts a person to fall short of what God had originally purposed for him.
When a person believes in Jesus Christ, he moves from darkness (skótos) into the light (phoâs). Nevertheless, he cannot avoid the skotía, the consequence of darkness or sin, the presence of sin in himself and in the world around him.
For instance, one of the physical consequences of sin is mortality. Jesus Christ was the only man who had inherent immortality (1 Tim. 6:16), and His body was not corruptible as ours is. He did not die because of His own sin as we do (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21), but for ours. The consequence of sin is corruption, but we shall one day shed it for righteousness at our redemption from this world (Rom. 8:21; 1 Cor. 15:42).
The correct translation of Hebrews 2:14 makes it clear that in His incarnation, Jesus Christ became flesh and blood just as children do, but He did not have the same sinful human nature as we do. "And He in a similar manner partook of the same." What I have translated "in a similar manner" is the Greek word paraplesíos (3898). It occurs only here and is an adverb. It is to be distinguished from homoiótes (3665), likeness, similarity.
The body of Jesus experienced death; that is, the spirit was separated from the body. The Lord, when this was about to take place, said on the cross in Luke 23:46: "Into Your hands I commend [paratheâsomai, "shall place near you," the future active indicative of paratíthemi, to place, put near] my spirit." But the body of Jesus did not decompose as our bodies do when they die, because it was sinless (Ps. 16:8-10; Acts 2:27; 13:35).
Because His body was made in the likeness of man, He not only partook of human flesh and blood, but He also was our high priest who "was in all points tempted like as we are [kath' homoióteta, from katá, in a manner; and homoiótes, likeness, similarity], yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
1. The message of Christ is of no effect unless we hear it and heed it.
2. Once we hear and heed the message, we must proclaim it as it was given by the apostles.
3. There is no secretiveness to the message of Christ. It is light and it must therefore be proclaimed openly (Matt. 10:27; Luke 12:3). Secret societies are incompatible with Christianity.
From The Epistles of John, (1994), AMG Publishers.