1 John 1:5-10 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.
Kristian’s teaching on this was basically that love forms the context of the book of 1 John, so we have to look at walking in the light in the context of love being the point—our fellowship with God and our fellowship with each other. He also pointed out that walking in "light" or "darkness" is not the same as walking in "sin" and "no sin". When we walk in the light, our sin is exposed and God's goodness is also exposed. He said that light is walking in honesty with God and others about who He is and who we are. The result is freedom, grace, real fellowship—real love. Here are some highlights directly cut and pasted from his sermon notes:
John states that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. What John means is that God’s perfection, holiness, goodness and absolute supremacy functions as light – meaning it reveals everything else which is in darkness.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”
There it is – “the light shines in the darkness” and “the true light which enlightens everyone!” Jesus came into the world, God in flesh (JESUS) and John calls Him light.
“This report asserts the excellency of the divine nature. He is all that beauty and perfection that can be represented to us by light. He is a self-active uncompounded spirituality, purity, wisdom, holiness and glory. And then the absoluteness and fullness of that excellency and perfection. There is no defect or imperfection, no mixture of anything alien or contrary to absolute excellency, no mutability nor capacity of any decay in him.”--Matthew Henry
You see, it’s easy to just assume that what John means by light and darkness has to do with personal morality. The beautiful meaning of this statement is lost, yet again, in the age-old paradigm of rules and regulations. Listen to what Henry says – there is much more to the reality that God is light than simply the fact that he doesn’t use cuss words, or smoke cigarettes or commit adultery. There is absolute beauty, purity, excellency, wisdom, holiness and glory. This is perfection, and darkness doesn’t only relate to personal morality but is a sweeping statement regarding the condition of mankind in every single area of life. Love is one of the main points which John is driving towards, and it is my personal opinion that the darkness and light John is referring to here has to do with exactly that – love (or lack thereof, in the case of darkness). God’s perfection, holiness, goodness and absolute supremacy functions as light – meaning it reveals everything else which is in darkness.
Love is one of the main points which John is driving towards, and it is my personal opinion that the darkness and light John is referring to here has to do with exactly that – love (or lack thereof, in the case of darkness).
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
This verse has been used time and time again to condemn repentant sinners who struggle with indwelling sin. Some people would say that this verse means that if you are still sinful, you cannot have fellowship with God. This interpretation of this verse is not only wrong and misleading, but can make a believer feel hopeless and become joyless and ineffective due to condemnation. This verse has been used to beat up people who know they are sinners and are broken about their sin though struggling. This is mishandling Scripture…What this verse means is that when we claim to have fellowship with God we must start by acknowledging that we are sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation.
The Scriptures affirm again and again that Christians struggle with sin – some of make a lot of progress whereas others make very slow progress. Paul said somewhere, speaking of sinners, “of who I AM the worst.” Not past tense, but present tense
Two verses down John will make a stunning statement which should settle the issue of whether Christians can reach perfection this side of heaven: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” The very text we are in does not allow for the interpretation that a Christian who walks in the light doesn’t sin – it’s nonsense!!
None of the passages in 1 John should make us feel as if our sin doesn’t matter and that we can happily go on sinning because Jesus will forgive us….if we claim to have been born again, filled with the Spirit and enjoy fellowship with God, while at the same time not caring about holiness, goodness, love, beauty, wisdom or any of that – then we lie and do not practice the truth.
To walk in the light means that we are honest about who we are – we don’t pretend that we are better than we really are and we don’t claim to be without sin. Rather, without affirming sin or depravity, we confess our sins and we can be assured that God forgives us and cleanses us.
If you love God you will obey Him, right? But what is it he commands us to do? To love!!!! And we are not left without definitions of what that means…you can take a look at the 10 commandments and you will see that every single commandment can be summed up in love for God and love for people.
1. If you love your neighbor you won’t covet his wife.
2. If you love your neighbor you won’t lie to him or her.
3. If you love your neighbor you won’t steal from him or her.
The difference is in the focus – we can be focused on morality for morality’s sake or we can obey God and focus on love, which will cause our morality to fall in line...to conquer bad behavior because we think that it’s just bad is not Biblical. What IS Biblical is if we conquer bad behavior because our bad behavior hurts our neighbor – that’s the point!
I said that these two actually go together so let me try to go back and explain that.
1. To not be honest about who we are is to lie to our brother/sister and it prevents the building of fellowship (Marriage)
2. To not be honest about our own sinfulness tends to lead to judging others for their sinfulness (We are all sick sinners in a hospital)
3. To not be honest about who we are is to lie to God and to make Him a liar – neither of which are loving or honoring God
Walking in the darkness:
To unrepentantly walk in a way which neither loves and honors God nor loves and honors His people by denying our own sinfulness, refusing to live in fellowship with God’s people and lacking completely in love for God and His people as evidenced by our treatment of each other and our lack of obedience to God’s commandments which are summed up in love.
Walking in the light:
To live a life of daily confession and repentance of sin in fellowship with God’s people having a heart of love for God and His people as evidenced by our treatment of each other and our obedience to God’s commandments which are summed up in love.
1. Confess sin to one another
2. Forgive one another’s sins
3. Serve one another
4. Treat a repentant believer with tenderness, love and care
5. Don’t judge one another