The Apostle John is one of the four biographers of Jesus Christ, along with Matthew, Mark, and Luke. As an older man, he also penned three short letters to believers. These are grouped near the end of the Bible. In his first letter, he identified two main characteristics, or qualities, of God. He wrote, “God is light” and “God is love.”
LIGHT. The Bible says that God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). The intensity of that light is the brilliance of God’s glory. I believe it is unmatched by the light of any star or sun. But when John says that God is light, he is talking about the purity of His character. There is not one bit of darkness, or sin, in God. Another way of communicating this is to say that God is righteous, completely right and good.
As a result of God being Light, His followers should also be people who do right and sin less and less. We never become sinless, but sin should not find a healthy home in our lives. Moral purity should be the hallmark of a Christ-follower. John said, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:7-8)
LOVE. God’s love doesn’t mean that He thinks everything we do is cute, kind of like the grandfather who dotes over his grandkids. But it means that God always, always, wants the best for you. It may involve painful discipline, but it’s always designed to help us turn the right way, not to punish us. God doesn’t love us BECAUSE we are so lovable. He loves us IN SPITE OF the ways we act.
Since God is love, it should also be a distinctive of His followers. The world, however, seems to have concluded that Christians are angry and intolerant. Jesus said, “he who has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47). Perhaps we need to spend more time thanking the Lord for His forgiveness and less time pointing out others’ faults.
God is the perfect balance of Light and Love, the perfect blend. Because of His righteousness, He can’t overlook sin. He must judge and punish it. Though He would be justified to condemn each of us, He loves us and doesn’t want to do that. God was faced with a dilemma: He couldn’t just overlook sin, neither does He want to pour out His wrath on us. He solved this dilemma by sending Jesus into our world. Having lived a sinless life, His death on the cross satisfied both God’s righteousness and His love. Through Christ, God fully punished sin. Now, through Christ, we can come to know God’s love.
If you haven’t yet invited Christ into your life and experienced His love, I hope you’ll do it soon.