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November 12, 2013

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 12 November 2013

First John 1:5 declares, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Light and darkness are prominent themes in the Gospel of John and in First John. They are word pictures of the conflict between good and evil that is resident within every man and woman. Scripture uses light as a metaphor for God, and for His truth, understanding, and righteousness, which are definitive. Whether you are at Capitol Hill in Georgia, the U.S. Capitol, or some other location, you will be confronted many times throughout the day to resolve to walk in light (truth, knowledge, and righteousness) as opposed to being in darkness (falsehood, ignorance, and sin).

Psalm 27:1 — The LORD is my light and my salvation. . . .

Psalm 104:2 – Bless the LORD, O my soul. . . ! Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak. . . .

John 8:12 – Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

God is Light and there is no darkness in Him. Therefore, whoever claims to “have fellowship with Him,” yet lives in habitual sin is a liar and does not practice the truth (v. 6). Conversely, if we walk in the light, “we have fellowship” with God, “and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (v. 7). The verb (Gk. katharizei) translated “cleanses” is in the present tense, which suggests continuous and progressive action, as opposed to a cleansing in the judicial sense. The cleansing includes the forgiveness from all past sin at the moment of salvation, yet the present tense indicates that those who walk in the light are cleansed from sin’s defilement and experience ongoing sanctification (i.e. being transformed into Christlikeness).

Scripture refers to two kinds of sins: those things we ought not to do (sins of commission) and not doing those things we ought to do (sins of omission). The more that we seek the knowledge of God’s Word, which through application of it leads to the wisdom we seek and for which we all pray (2 Chron 1:10; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7; 2:1-22; 4:1-27; 13:4; Eccl 7:12), the more likely we will disregard the things we ought not to do. However, only Jesus lived a perfect life, which means we will sin, even as believers. To assert otherwise is to be deceived and to live a lie (v. 8).

We are comforted, however, in verses 9-10. Although we have sin in our lives, we can still be cleansed from this sin and continue to have fellowship with God, which, of course, will impact our relationships with others. “If we confess our sins,” we have a familial (parental) forgiveness from God, just as when the sin of a child or spouse is confessed and fellowship is restored with parents or one’s spouse. Judicial forgiveness is only needed once (Rom 5:6-11; Eph 1:7).

We are to confess our sins based upon love and respect for the Lord God, and then the fellowship between God and us will be restored. Unfortunately, even believers continue to sin (v. 10); therefore, when the Holy Spirit convicts us, we are to confess our sins and receive the promise of restoration that is given in verse 9. We are wise to see our need for repentance and forgiveness, as expressed by the following quote from C. S. Lewis.

If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness every day, and are not in the least likely to do any better tomorrow, and so our case is hopeless again. . . .

Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power—it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor [Mere Christianity, rev. ed. (New York: Collier Books, 1952) 38-39].

First John 1 tells us that we need to “listen to the doctor,” which is why the Master Physician (the Lord God) revealed his Word, the Holy Bible. The Word of God is unambiguous that we are sinners in need of divine grace. All must repent to receive forgiveness of sins, and to have trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. When we do so, we will be made well by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We ought not doubt the need for repentance, forgiveness, and trust in the Lord, for these actions is the foundation for all relationship dynamics, both divine and human. What a tremendous thought to guide us through our day: God’s Word prepares us not only for life in the present, but also for life forevermore!

If the ministry of Capitol Commission can serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Grace and Peace to You,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission
ron.bigalke@capitolcom.org
www.capitolcom.org