September 15, 2020
Like the gospel of John, the book of 1 John is filled with sharp contrasts: light and darkness, truth and falsehood, love and hate. In John’s mind, things are fairly black and white with little if any grey area. In refreshingly simple terms, John writes his first epistle in order to give the people of God a better understanding of how they can know that they are saved, how they can tell the difference between true and false believers. He calls the church to be in a state of continual growth in faith, in obedience, and in love; let’s heed that call together as a church as we read this letter!
John begins his letter by elaborating on what it means to walk in fellowship with God. He says that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (v.5). Based on that assertion, John says that only those who walk in the light can be walking with God; anyone who says they have fellowship with God but walks in darkness is a liar. What then does it mean to walk in the light?
When John says that God is light, and there is no darkness in Him, he means that God is absolutely perfect in both knowledge and purity. There is no darkness, no evil, no hidden fault, no shadow of change or of impurity in Him. He is altogether perfect, holy, and pure!
Walking in the light means that we, as those who have been made one with Christ through the Holy Spirit, reflect the perfection and purity of God in our own lives! Not that we are perfect by any means; John makes it quite clear that perfection is not what he is claiming (v.8, 10)! But as believers who are being progressively remade into Christ’s image, our lives should increasingly demonstrate the moral perfection, complete purity, and absolute glory of God to the world around us!
Part of this means that there is no hypocrisy or self-righteousness in us; walking in the light requires that we acknowledge our sinfulness and confess our sins (v.8-10). Walking in the light is walking in integrity, without falsehood, without putting up a front, without hidden sins or unspoken faults. The people of God are to walk in the light, out in the open for all to see!
This kind of living seems intimidating to so many of us, and it should; vulnerability and openness can be a scary thing! But luckily for us, in Christ God has made this kind of living something that we no longer have to be afraid of! John says it himself in this chapter: anyone who says they haven’t sinned or refuses to confess their sinfulness is deceiving themselves and calling God a liar! But if we walk in the light, freely and openly confessing our sins to God, HE is both faithful and just not only to forgive us but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Admitting our ongoing need for God’s mercy and grace through confession is the pathway to true transformation and change in our lives!
Are you walking in the light?
1 John 1
The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Walking in the Light
5 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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Family Discussion Question:
- How does the promise of forgiveness and cleansing from our sins in this chapter encourage us to live our lives out in the open, to walk in the light? What is a step you can take toward walking in this kind of life?