B. SPIRIT, LOVE, AND LIGHT
What is God’s nature? According to the New Testament God is Spirit (John 4:24), love (1 John 4:8, 16), and light (1 John 1:5). The expressions, “God is Spirit,” “God is love,” and “God is light,” are not used in a metaphoric sense, but in a predicative sense. These expressions denote and describe the nature of God.
In His nature God is Spirit, love, and light. Spirit denotes the nature of God’s person; love, the nature of God’s essence; and light, the nature of God’s expression. Both love and light are related to God as life, which life is of the Spirit (Rom. 8:2). God, Spirit, and life are actually one. God is Spirit, and Spirit is life. Within such a life are love and light. When this divine love appears to us, it becomes grace, and when this divine light shines upon us, it becomes truth.
The Gospel of John reveals that the Lord Jesus has brought grace and truth to us (John 1:14, 17) so that we may have the divine life (John 3:14-16), whereas the Epistle of 1 John unveils that the fellowship of the divine life brings us to the very sources of grace and truth, which are the divine love and the divine light. First John is the continuation of the Gospel of John. In the Gospel it was God in the Son coming to us as grace and truth so that we may become His children. In the Epistle of 1 John it is we, the children, in the fellowship of the Father’s life, coming to the Father in order to participate in His love and light. The former was God coming out to the outer court to meet our need at the altar with His grace and truth (Lev. 4:28-31); the latter is we entering into the Holy of Holies to contact Him at the ark in the divine love and light (Exo. 25:22). This is further and deeper in the experience of the divine life.
God is Spirit. This refers to His person. God is also love and light. Love refers to His essence, and light, to His expression. Both God’s love and light are related to His life. This life is actually God Himself. Life is also the Spirit.
When this life was manifested, it came with grace and truth. When we received the Lord Jesus, we received life, and now we enjoy grace and truth. This life brings us back to God to enjoy His love and light. First, God came to us so that we may receive grace and truth. Now we go back to the Father and contact Him as the source of grace and truth, and this source is love and light. Therefore, in the fellowship of the divine life we are being brought back to God to enjoy His love as the source of grace and His light as the source of truth.
This understanding of love and light is not derived from human reasoning; it comes from the divine revelation in the Word. In this revelation we have a number of items for our enjoyment, comparable to the many courses of a feast. We have God, the Spirit as the nature of God’s person, love as the nature of God’s essence, and light as the nature of God’s expression. When we have all these divine things, it means that we have been brought back to God the Father. When we are brought back to God the Father, we meet Him and enjoy Him as love, which is the source of grace, and light, which is the source of truth. How marvelous that in the fellowship of the divine life we enjoy the divine light and the divine love! Thus, in our experience we may enjoy God’s nature; that is, we may enjoy God as Spirit, love, and light.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 001-020), Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)