Progressive Patterns

Three Darkest Hours

Timeline of events

All the gospels but John record a 3 hour time period of complete darkness. It is those 3 hours that we will focus on.

 

When Christ was nailed to the cross He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) Hanging on the instrument of death, He talked with His mother and disciple (John 19:25-27), and He also spoke with a repentant thief (Luke 23:39-43).

After all this talk, "it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened." (Luke 23:44-45; Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33)

After the ninth hour, "all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned [to Jerusalem]. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things." (Luke 23:48-49) This is when we hear Jesus cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He also states that He is thirsty and tastes some vinegar on a sponge. Then He cries aloud, “It is finished.” Finally He says with His dying breath, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” These sayings are followed by supernatural signs like another darkening of the sun, a great earthquake, and the ripping of the veil in the temple.

By this record we see Jesus talking with others before the sixth hour, then public declarations after the ninth hour, but all we see during the three hours in between is darkness. Jesus is veiled in darkness and silence. Why? What happened?

In our pursuit for the meaning of the cross, let's read three short stories from Scripture. They will begin to help us understand why those three hours were the darkest in all eternity.

 

Three stories

Abraham and Isaac

Our first story is about Abraham and young son, Isaac. It is a unique story in the Bible. It is the only time God asked someone to violate His ten commandments and kill an innocent victim.

For three days Abraham wrestled with that command while he journeyed with his son to Mount Moriah, the site of the future temple.

"And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not your hand upon the lad, neither do you anything unto him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." (Genesis 22:9-13)

Hearing is remembering and seeing is believing, but experiencing is knowing. By experience Abraham came to know the pain of God in sacrificing His only Son. God would not let the patriarch offer Isaac to Him, but God would offer Jesus to us.

So what is this offering and sacrifice stuff all about? "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) The consequences of indulging in evil is death. The natural result of selfishness is death. The sinner dies because he or she has let go of the goodness of life.

So does God stand by with His arms folded in a "told you so" manner? Does He let the laws of nature play out in their cold logical way? No, He gave humans the simple ceremony of the sacrifice of the lamb to teach us that He would Himself become our Lamb of God to die in our place. He Himself would pay the price. He Himself would suffer the fair demands of justice. Then, like Isaac, we would be set free.

 

Moses

The second story adds more detail to the teachings of Abraham's experience.

While Moses was on the top of Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments written with God's own finger, the Israelites were at the base wildly worshiping a golden calf as their new leader to guide them back to Egyptian slavery.

"And it came to pass the next day, that Moses said unto the people, You have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; perhaps I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if you will forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray you out of your book which you have written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." (Exodus 32:30-33)

In contrast to Abraham being ordered to take a life, Moses volunteered to give his. But notice what life he was offering. He said, "Blot me...out of your book." Moses was not merely offering his physical, temporary life, but he was volunteering to give his spiritual, eternal life for his people. The book--in modern terms, the database--was the list of all who would be granted eternal life.

Jesus told His disciples to rejoice because their names were "written in heaven." (Luke 10:20) Why should they rejoice? Because evil and evil people will not be permitted there. "And there shall in no way enter into it anything that defiles neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27-33) It was his entry in the book that Moses offered to trade for the rebellious people.

Was this not a sacrifice on Moses' part? He stood to lose everything for a wicked people who deserved nothing. Simply out of selfless love, the leader offered to sacrifice his eternal life on their behalf so they could gain entrance to heaven.

But what was God's response? Just as with Abraham, He would not let Moses sacrifice his life. Everyone will enter or not enter on the basis of their own decisions. Whoever loves and does evil, will be denied entrance. Whoever loves and does good will be admitted. Heaven is not earned by money, power, or hard work. It is chosen as a free gift.

And how does all this relate to the cross? Notice the depth of sacrifice Moses was willing to make. One man for a nation of people. This points us to an even greater sacrifice that Jesus was permitted to make. One Man for an entire world. And not just physical life was at stake here, but the spiritual and eternal life.

 

Hang on a tree

Now let's turn to our third and final story.

Because of their idolatry and gross immorality there were certain tribes in the land of Canaan that were to be entirely dispossessed. God's original plan was to drive them out with hornets and to make the land entirely clean. The Israelites were not to copy the pagan practices. To remind His people of this moral standard God commanded them, "If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and you hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall in any case bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that your land be not defiled, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance." (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)

The standard method of Hebrew execution was stoning, but if the crime was so terrible and/or the criminal so unrepentant that the purity of the nation was threatened then the dead body was to be hanged from a tree. This showed that not only the sentence of man had been carried out, but the criminal was also under the curse of God for eternity.

With this in mind, the crucifixion of Jesus on two cross beams made from a tree takes on greater significance: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree." (Galatians 3:13)

The sinner, by the natural consequences which we ourselves set in motion, is doomed to death not only of the body, but also of the soul. Christ allowed Himself to be hung on a tree to show that He was taking on our soul death. We die the death of the body so we have a visible example of the results of sin, but Jesus took on our eternal death so that we have hope of a resurrection.

In summary, Abraham and Isaac teach us that God will die in our place. Moses teaches us that Christ volunteered to give up His eternal life for us. And the tree tells us that Jesus suffered the soul death on our behalf.

 

Three psalms

Three psalms help paint a picture of the body and soul death that Christ suffered.

Psalm 22

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel." (Psalms 22:1-3) Those very words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Christ uttered on the cross. Why? Because God's loving goodness is holy. It refuses to compromise or partake of evil. So when the penalty for our transgressions was placed on Jesus, then the Father had to separate Himself from His own Son. That is the greatest and final curse that anyone can ever suffer.

"Our fathers trusted in you, they trusted, and you did deliver them. They cried unto you and were delivered: they trusted in you and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But you are he that took me out of the womb: you did make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon you from the womb: you are my God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help." (Psalms 22:4-11) Jesus suffered as a man and was rejected by men, by "His own." (John 1:11) The Savior's heart was wrung with the pain of misunderstanding, ridicule, and rejection. He was tempted to believe that His own Father would never resurrect Him.

"Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue clings to my jaws; and you have brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." (Psalms 22:12-18) Behold the scene of the Son of God being crucified by the very ones He is dying to save! They despise Him, but by His death they are assured the opportunity of repentance to eternal life!

Psalm 69

"I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: my eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: they that would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away." (Psalms 69:2-4) In His mind, the Savior knew that He was personally innocent. No one could convict Him of a single sin or a moment of selfishness. () Yet, the sins of a guilty world were being poured upon His tender, sympathetic soul. He was sinking under the flood of the world's evil.

"Because for your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. For the zeal of your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me. When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is unto you O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of your mercy hear me, in the truth of your salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O LORD; for your lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of your tender mercies. And hide not your face from your servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw near unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of my enemies. You have known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor my adversaries are all before you. Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none." (Psalms 69:7-20)

Here we see the depths of love contrasted with the depths of selfishness. The very sinners for whom Christ was dying, heaped up scorn and accusation against Him. Because He suffered under the load of our sins, we, by our lives of ingratitudes and disrespect, pile up accusations against Him as if the sins were His! We commit the spiritual crimes of selfishness and evil, then judge Him guilty as if He were the criminal! But the Son of God bore the reproach and let His face be covered in shame so that we could see how deceitful is sin and to what twisted lengths it will go to defend itself. We long for innocence, yet we despise the innocent and make Him suffer.

Psalm 88

Our third and final psalm, Psalm 88, is better understood after briefly reviewing the experience of Jonah. Many have heard of him. He was the runaway prophet who had the sailors throw him overboard in the midst of a terrible storm. After sinking down into the watery depths, a whale swallowed him. Drowning, holding on to that last breath of air, Jonah was then squeezed into the dark, acidic stomach of a fish. No room. No light. No way of escape.

"Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of my affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and you heard my voice. For you had cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods surrounded me about: all your billows and your waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of your sight.... The waters surrounded me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever." (Jonah 2:1-6)

Jonah felt the desperation of his situation, but he was finally rescued and vomited on to dry land. Not so with our Savior. Jesus was spiritually lowered into the pit, the tomb, the icy blackness of death from which there was no escape.

"O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you, incline your ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draws near unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that has no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom you remember no more: and they are cut off from your hand. You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Your wrath lies hard upon me, and you have afflicted me with all your waves. Selah. You have put away my acquaintance far from me; you have made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth." (Psalms 88:1-8)

Imagine coming to the end of your life and then you are transported to the pearly gates of heaven. You see the glory within. You hear the music and sense the peace and happiness. You think your troubles are about to end. Then you are told the terrible, undeniable truth. You are selfish and hopelessly evil. You are then cast down into a dark, bottomless pit. You sink. You rush ever downward with no hope of rescue. You cry out for help, but your voice is swallowed up in the dense darkness and nobody can hear you. You are about to meet your eternal doom without any way of escape. You are an abomination to life itself. You are shut up and cannot come forth.

This is the penalty that Christ took on your behalf. During those three dark hours on the cross, the ultimate consequences of your life of self-centered evil and disobedience was poured into His very soul. And He willingly swallowed it all. Every drop. Every pang of remorse. Every wisp of regretfulness. His soul took the place of your soul. Christ descended into the darkness that you might one day live in the light.

"My eye mourns by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon you. I have stretched out my hands unto you. Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah. Shall your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or your faithfulness in destruction? Shall your wonders be known in the dark? and your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto you have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer come before you. LORD, why cast you off my soul? why hide you your face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer your terrors I am distracted. Your fierce wrath goes over me; your terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they surrounded me about together. Lover and friend have you put far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness." (Psalms 88:9-18)

In the great day of final judgment, those who have not made Christ's sacrifice theirs will die alone. In terror and abandonment, cut off from the goodness of God, those who instead choose to cling to evil will discover the full results of their own handiwork. God is too good to torture the sinner. He will not pile on the blame and the shame they so richly deserve. Rather, the selfish are left reap the harvest of their own planting. They are left to the darkness they have been gathering to themselves their whole lives. They die in the dark, deep graves they have dug with their own hands, and they will recognize every cubic inch.

In this life, we often flatter ourselves that we can get away with our selfish schemes, that somehow we can escape the consequences. To a degree this is true, but only because God took our consequences upon Himself. He then lets us experience only a small portion that we are able to bear () and to learn from. He puts candles and sparks in our way to warn us, to teach us, even at times to scare us, away from the towering flames of our own punishment which our own hands are even now kindling.

 

Three verses

By now it is clear that Jesus sacrificed His life, both physically and spiritually. It was a painful, agonizing death that He did not enjoy. It is also clear that He did this for us; not for Himself, but for us. Yet, there remains the question, Why? Why was such a sacrifice necessary? Why was a soul sacrifice needed to begin with?

Let's first remember what the real problem is. Evil is not merely bad behavior. It is that, but it is also the motive that gives birth to the behavior. God is trying to cure evil, all of it. Killing the body stops the behavior, but the soul also must die so that the selfish motives die. This "double death" is plainly spoken of in Scripture.

 

Isaiah 53:10

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

"With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" (Micah 6:6-7) [[universe spiritually marred forever]]

“The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

 

There is only one solution to the problem of evil: death. "For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23-7) [[death of evil is good. death of good soul is bad]] It is the inevitable, unavoidable, ultimate consequence. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption." (Galatians 6:7-8)

Therefore, to cleanse the universe of sin, God must cleanse the universe of sinners. But this solution was not good enough for our heavenly Father. He is a just God, but He is also a loving God. In His infinite wisdom and His boundless compassion, He found a way for the sinner to die and yet to live again.

God is our Creator. Everything we have and are is from Him and by Him. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being." (Acts 17:28) "By him all things consist." (Colossians 1:17) This was illustrated in the Eden story: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7-17) So our life is His life.

Therefore, God is able to take our lives, selfish and sin polluted as they are, and die our deaths and then give us His life in return. It is the Great Exchange. We give Him our evil souls and He gives us His good soul. It is this simple: In Christ we die, and then in Christ we live.

 

Isaiah 53:11

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:3-6)

 

Isaiah 53:12

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer in it? Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives he lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:1-11)

 

Now we see the great solution of how God "might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus." (Romans 3:26) Sin is erased, and yet the sinner is saved, if he or she choose to be in Christ, to believe in Jesus. Outside of Jesus is death, but "in him is no sin. Whoever abides in him sins not." (1 John 3:5-6) Here, in Christ, is presented the great haven from all selfishness and evil. By His unselfish sacrifice, God opened a way for us to become unselfish through Him and in Him. This goes far beyond behavior modification. It gets to the very motive powers of our soul. In deep love and gratitude, we appreciate and imitate and receive the very life and soul of Christ.

 

To be spiritually minded is to focus unselfishly on God and before we knew the unselfishness of Christ, we thought God was selfish and therefore we were discouraged and hopeless. But now we see that God has given everything for us and we are inspired.

"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:10-12)

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

 

Three hours

Perhaps now we are ready to consider and appreciate those three hours of darkness on Calvary, from the sixth unto the ninth hour.

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.... For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

“He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)

“For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psalms 90:4)

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

By way of illustration (there is no way I can fully and perfectly explain this), let's attempt to visualize what Jesus went through during the three darkest hours of the eternal universe.

Imagine your life as a timeline that began at birth and (hopefully) stretches on into eternity. The first segment of 50, 70, or maybe 100 years is your life on earth. This part of your timeline is dirty from your selfish sins and with the pain inflicted by the evil of others. By the death of Christ this part of the timeline is guaranteed to you to make your choice about God and evil and eternity. (Romans 5:18) But your choice alone cannot atone for your evil. Self cannot put self to death. Eternity cannot be chosen or entered by selfish reasons.

Therefore, Jesus takes your timeline upon Himself. The soul He gave you He takes back upon Himself with all its guilt and selfishness. Every selfish moment you have ever lived, every evil decision you have ever made, is placed upon Jesus. Then He chooses to take the consequence for each of those choices. He does not just casually wave His hand and disinterestedly says, Yeah I will pay the price. No, relives our lives intimately and personally, because He is infinite God, and loves us in detail and in spite of those details. Not in a mighty gulp of the cup, but drop by drop, the Savior consciously pays the price for our sins and makes a way of escape for each one. He lives our life and heals our life, not missing one wound, one scratch, one pain.

Now how could Jesus live our life of decades in only three hours? Well, this is where we bow in gratitude and ignorance. Imagine your timeline, instead of stretching left to right as usual, is now stood on end. And next to yours is someone else's timeline and next to theirs is somebody else's. Timelines have a long length, but no width. In three hours billions upon billions of timelines can be stood next to each other like a tightly packed picket fence.

Then, starting with Adam and Eve and moving in chronological order, Jesus experiences life after life after life. He does death after death after death. In the multi-dimensional physics of God, Jesus suffers a lifetime of death, then, in our time, it is only an instant later and He experiences the next lifetime. Nobody is missed. Not one sin is overlooked nor unatoned for. Jesus pays the fullness of eternal death for every precious soul that has ever walked the earth, and yet only three hours of earth time have passed. Spiritual wormholes?! Time warps of the soul?! I really don't know exactly how He did it, but somehow God paid the full price for every sin of every sinner. Whether it took three hours, three years, or three centuries, it is a miracle of love and choice of self-sacrificing suffering.

Now, because Jesus put Himself in my place, I can just begin to understand why “about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

It was not a show. It was an experience. My experience because of my selfishness. Because the only way to deliver me from my selfish motives is to pay the price for my evil deeds and demonstrate total selfless love focused on me, Jesus died for me. He sacrificed His eternity with the Father that I might eternity restored to me. And now, because I see and accept the unselfish truth about God, I give up my rights, my demands, my pride in exchange for a life that is truly living and loving. Because He lived for me and others, I choose to live for Him and others.

With the apostle John I can say, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 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. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:3-9)