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.
Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Originally I was going to break this into two sections but I’ve decided not to for a few reasons. First this section is the complete thought of the ”REALITY STATED” for what it means to be born again. Remember John’s use of the perfect tense throughout the book. The reality of salvation is revealed in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit conforming us to Christ likeness (Rom 8:29). Not perfection, but direction. John is writing to his beloved so they understand what it means to be saved. This is after all Johns main thrust for the epistle. If you have been saved 5 minutes or 50 years and you haven’t wrestled with sin in your life you may want to question the validity of your salvation. I’ll explain more on that but suffice to say you better know the truth of sin in your life in light of a Holy God. Know up front that Jesus did not die for your sin, so you can be ok with it. 2 Peter 3:9 states that “God is willing that none should perish but that all should come unto repentance.” Repentance is not a one- time thing and then all is well but the more you grow in grace, the more you walk in the light (as we will find out) the more sensitive you become to sin and you start to see just how Holy God really is. Please don’t hear me say that repentance unto salvation is ongoing, justification satisfies our standing with God once for all. I’m merely stating our sensitivity to sin will increase, the closer we walk with Christ.
The second reason I’m keeping this in one section is because the rest of the epistle tests the reality of the claim to be walking in the light and yet have a firm understanding of sin in your life. A true understanding of this will be reflected with your relationship with ongoing sin, obedience to His commands, the world, practicing righteousness, Love, the Real Jesus and prayer. John’s outline is very consistent and each topic is dealt with extensively even though there are only 5 chapters.
Thinking back to the first blog, bear in mind the readers assurance of their salvation is to be grounded in God’s testimony about His Son (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). This assurance is based on the message they HEARD vs 5(you guessed right it is a perfect). The message they heard had an ongoing effect. If it does not have an ongoing effect they did not really hear the message. This is probably the most substantial statement in this entire epistle “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”. If we really knew that God is light and we claim to walk with God we have to understand that we will see our sin for what it is and know that ONLY because of Jesus shed blood could we ever make the statement to claim to walk with God. This is where John drops the hammer “6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” To claim to have fellowship with God while walking in darkness (sin) we lie. The point about this that is so substantial is John is about to tell us (specifically) through the Greek language in verse 8 that if we claim to have no sin, right here, right now WE LIE. So how do we walk in the light, have fellowship with the Father, all the while being sinners? John explains in verse 8 and 9 that “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”. John is going to reemphasize and reaffirm this later but to have a solid understanding of the fact that God is light (literally dwells in unapproachable light as Paul told Timothy (1Tim 6:16) we must first acknowledge our sinfulness. Not that our sin has not been conquered or forgiven but we still live in a fleshly body in a fallen world. Paul wrestled with this (Rom 7:15-25), the prophets wrestled with this, John himself wrestled with this through the book of Revelation. To think that somehow it’s not that big of a deal to us in the church really exposes we’re not that convinced of God’s holiness.
I realize this is pretty lengthy for a blog so I will close on 1:10, but I will come back to revisit 2:1-2 in chapter 3. John states a maxim that confirms what I’ve said in the previous paragraphs. In 1:10 the English translation states “10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” The rendering for “we have not sinned” is accurate for a perfect verb as it should be stated in the past tense but the fact that there is an ongoing action is missed. If you’re not continually dealing with your sin, you are making God a liar and it reveals ultimately His word is not in you. John is going to explain later what it means to practice righteousness as opposed to practicing sin, but suffice to say, the more we see God as in the light the more we will be concerned with our sin. This is the reality of what it means to be born again. Nobody has ever been born again that first did not recognize their sin (Mark 1:15).
I hope this encourages you in your walk with Christ. In my case over 30 years ago, my lack of concern over sin really exposed the fact I wasn’t saved. I’m so thankful that God is so patient, not wishing that any would perish.