“This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5
God has many facets to His character, but the Apostle John’s proposition is that we must start with the holiness of God: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” In other words, if we are to grasp an understanding of the Creator, we must not start with His power, or His greatness, or even with the fact that God is love, even though all of these traits are stupendous truths in and of themselves.
Why must we start with the holiness of God rather than with the love of God?
It is by considering His holiness that we can understand God’s plan of salvation for mankind, a strategy achieved only through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary. If God’s attributes were limited to love, mercy and compassion, then the cross would have been inconsequential because all God had to do was to forgive our sins. But the whole message of Christianity is that the cross is vital and central, and apart from Christ’s sacrifice, our sins could not be forgiven, and the deep chasm would still persist between our sinful human nature and God’s absolute and perfect holiness.
Why was Christ’s death on the cross absolutely essential? Because God is light, He is just and righteous, with such purity that He cannot behold and look upon iniquity. (Habakkuk 1:13). “It is the holiness of God that demands the cross, so without starting with holiness, there is no meaning in the cross.” 1
If we start with the holiness of God, we realize that Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection had to take place. And we recognize that fellowship with God, communion with Light, is only made possible in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has reconciled us to the Father by His great sacrifice on the cross.
1 Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Safe in the World: The Assurance of Our Salvation”, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, p. 108
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Safe in the World: The Assurance of Our Salvation”, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, pp. 99-110.
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, “The Holiness of God”, www.fivesolas.com/watson/wat_holi.htm
*** Photography: The Hand of God by Rich Goldman