Walking In the Light!
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:1-4
I love how John belabors his personal experience with Jesus. They have “seen” (Greek: horao (hor-ah’-o) – to “stare at”) and “looked” (Greek: theaomai (theh-ah’-om-ahee) – to view/look at attentively) at “the Word of Life.” This is a natural extension of what the gospel John wrote says about Jesus in its beginning as well, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” – John 1:1-5 The Word of Life is eternal. His goal in testifying/declaring/proclaiming the Word of life, eternal, with the Father and appearing to them? It was to have fellowship with them and for them to have fellowship with the Father. This is why we share “good news” – we proclaim what Christ is doing in our lives and in the church family we’ve been brought into by Him. Without proclamation like this there is no fellowship like this. Hearing about “good news” weather it be from a brother or sister right in front of us or “good news” from afar, via something like the “good news email,” builds our bonds of fellowship. Also, when we proclaim Christ to a lost world together, it certainly bonds us in fellowship. Those bonds of fellowship make our joy complete.
1 John 1:5-7
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin.”
This passage again is alluding to the Gospel of John, “…In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness does not understood it.” Unless we walk in the light – exposing all our evil deeds – we are still in the darkness and cannot understand the light, the Word, Jesus Christ. Unconfessed sins make us dull to the Word and thus dull to Christ. When I am not open and confessing my sins, I get dull and lack insight. The scriptures teach we are to confess our sins to one another (cf. James 5:16). They also teach that a calloused heart cannot understand and so turn to Jesus and be healed. Our hearts are made calloused by our sins. Sin robs us of our faith as well (cf. Heb 3:12-14).
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
The key here? Walking in the light. What does that mean? Firstly, it means our evil deeds will be exposed. Once again, drawing on the Gospel of John, we can get insight into what he intimates here in John 3:19-21:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
When we walk in the Light, our sins are exposed. However, if we live by the truth – and thus walk in the light – our sins are exposed and yet what we do for God is plainly seen as being done through God. It’s not our own “righteousness” (our “self-righteousness”) that merits us doing anything for God, but it is a grace-driven, forgiveness motivated life.
1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
There are so many amazing promises of God in this passage. The first is fellowship with each other. If we walk in the light – if we expose our sins (which is by default what happens when we walk into the light, cf John 3:19-21) – we have fellowship with each other. Already, John in this epistle is focused on our fellowship with each other via our proclamation and our confession of sin. If I am not close to the brothers and sisters, it is because I refuse to be open, refuse to walk in the light, in the relationships in the kingdom. Are you feeling distant from the disciples in your bible talk or your mentoring/discipling relationship? Obey this scripture, this principle, and you will build deep relationships and quickly at that! Remember, “…no temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” (1 Cor 13:10) and “…you know that your brothers all over the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.” (1 Peter 5:9). Nobody is better than anybody at the foot of the cross, and the promise is, when we confess and walk in the light as he is in the light, we will have fellowship with him and with each other and we will be purified “…from all sin.” What amazing promises of God are activated by our humble decision to own (instead of “…clam to be without”) our sin! A purification from all sin! The promise in Matthew 5:8 comes to mind, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God!” If we are not seeing God working in our lives, if we don’t sense the peace and power of his presence in our day to day lives, we need only to walk in the light and confess our sins (1 John 1:8).
There is also the promise that if we be forgiven of all our sins and purified from all unrighteousness. It is amazing that it says “ALL.” That means everything. If we are purified from all unrighteousness, then we will be righteous – not because of our own “deeds” or merit – but because of the blood of Jesus purifying us. There is astonishing power in the prayer of a righteous man.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Why confess our sins? We confess to each other, walking into the light, and we are purified from all unrighteousness. Then we pray (as righteous people now) for each other – and those prayers, from a purified heart and life – are POWERFUL. The very example used in the passage of stopping the rain for three years and bringing it back should give us an inclination of just how POWERFUL prayers are that are made from a purified, righteous heart! That kind of powerful prayer can be ours – if we walk into the light.
The scriptures teach that purposes of the Word of God, the Bible, are to 1) “teach, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, and equip for every good work” those who want to love God (cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17) and 2) “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (cf. Heb 4:12). Here in 1 John 1:10 we learn that it becomes useless for these things if we do not confess our sins. A few of the promises here in 1 John 1 are NOT positive. The first one is in verse 6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him (walking in the light) yet walk in the darkness (evil deeds not exposed), we lie and do not live by the truth.” Driving this promise home in its clarity is verse 8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” The severe danger in refusing to confess our sins is we will be lying to others, lying to ourselves, and making Jesus out to be a liar! In fact, there will be no truth in us! Why? Because the truth is Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and Jesus Christ is the word (John 1:1), and the Word has no place in our lives if we do not walk in the light/confess our sins. This crystallizes the usage of the bible to judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts and to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness. Without confession of sins, there is no obedience of God’s word, there is no sincere love for one another (cf. 1 Peter 1:22, 1 John 5:1-3), and only deceit, the Lord of Glory made out to be liar. It is we who are the liars in this case – and the liars’ have terrifying destiny! (cf. Rev 21:8)
None of us can claim to be without sin. This is radically against the scriptures. We “…all fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and “We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin!” (Rom 3:9) We need the blood of Christ and faith in it – “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.” (Romans 3:25).