If any light is seen when a person is in the dark, it is only enough to reveal that there is something else besides darkness. Otherwise, those who walk in darkness do not know anything about that darkness.
The metaphor is a good one for sin and holiness. Before Christ, I did not know that I was in sin, or even know what sin was until God brought me out of sin’s darkness and into the light of His dear Son.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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 cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7)
To say that God is light means that He has no sin, but more than that, He can perceive everything. He isn’t missing that which I think I can hide, or even that which I successfully hide from others. His light exposes it all and from these verses, I understand that walking in the light means that I also can see.
Oswald Chambers says it is a big mistake to think that just because I can see the sin in my life, that I am free from its reach. This is true. One day Jesus will take me to Himself and transform me into His exact image. Until then, I not only am aware of sin, but sometimes sin will get the best of me. All I need to do is step out of the light that God gives me and the shadows will close in.
This past year has been a walk through a dark forest with great patches of dappled sunlight. The light of God is remarkable, bouncing off all that is around me and helping me stay on the path, but the dark shadows remain, dangerous, yet in their contrast with light having an appeal that perhaps an artist might understand. Certainly even saved sinners understand it too.
Yet the blood of Jesus Christ applies to both conscious sin and that which happens when I wander into the shadows. His salvation is total, complete, and freely offered. Why then is my experience often like a child playing with a light switch? This on-then-off battle has had me slashing at the darkness to drive it away, yet I am drawn back into it too. Do I make the silly excuse that the light is too bright?
Even with my inconsistent walk and foolish opinions of shadows, the Holy Spirit applies the blood of Christ to all sin. This is not merely the sin that I see in the light, but the sin that I miss because of darkness, or slide into in oblivious folly. God has no problem with my darkness.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:11–12)
If I walk in the light as God is in the light, not in the light of my conscious awareness of sin and what is going on in those shadows, but in the light of God, then I realize what He is doing —the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin. It that light, the light that is beyond the reach of shadows and darkness, Almighty God sees nothing to condemn in me.
How can that be? It is true only because of the blood of Christ. His sacrifice not only covers my sin but washes it away, whether I am aware of it (in light) or not (in the shadows). As this happens, the working of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Christ reveals to me a deepening awareness in my conscious mind of what sin is. He gives me His hatred of it and His desire for holiness.
Because of grace and the goodness of God, He takes me by the hand and walks me through the forest. To walk in the light means just that, not that I can see everything in the darkness and in those ever-moving and elusive shadows, but that I am with Him. And the more I walk with Him, the more I shudder at the darkness, and the more eager I am to get through this life and experience the comfort of being fully enveloped in the very source Light.