1 John,  Dale Lewis

1 John 1:5-7 | Walk in Light

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This morning we move onto the main body of teaching in John’s brief letter on fellowship. In my outline the main body of teaching is found in chapter 1:5 – 3:16 where the Apostle John will take up the specifics on the topic that deals with “fellowship with God”. He had already wrote about the “Basis of fellowship”, (Jesus Christ) and then examined briefly the “Benefits of fellowship with God” or “What has changed since we have enjoyed fellowship with God” which are scattered throughout the letter in the words “These things I write to you”. Now in this the largest section of the letter we will be first looking at four things affect our fellowship with God though Jesus Christ:

1:5-2:14 Conditions of fellowship

2:15-27 Cautions to fellowship

2:28-5:3 Characteristics of fellowship

5:4-21 Consequences of fellowship

Vs 5 This is the message

Vs. 5 Before we start our interpretation of these verses 5-7 we need to first establish the “context” in which they were written. The first thing John starts with is the unquestionable truth with regards to the nature of God. He states the revelation with the words: “This is the message” which previously he said was the life that was manifested to him, and he is now declaring to those he writes too is that the basis of “fellowship” is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ who is “Light and in Him in no darkness at all”. The question is what necessitated the establishment of this truth? As everything that follows in verses 6-10 specifically is resting firmly upon that context! It is clear that John is defining the fellowship of the believer based upon the nature of whom is the cause of this fellowship. The reason for this most likely was due to the heresy known as “Anti..nom..ian..ism” which was held by the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:6. The word means “against law” and it is a lawlessness and disregard for truth or law on the part of one who professes to be a true follower of Christ. The teaching lived out resulted in two things both of which John is combatting specifically in verse 5-6.

  1. That there is in the nature and character of God evil.
  2. That the person who lives in and habitually practices sin can still enjoy fellowship with God.

John makes it clear in this section 8 times alone by the use of the word “SIN” that fellowship with God has ONE primary enemy, our own sin. He contrasts this by using the nature of God “Light and in Him in no darkness at all” with the practice of some that “walk in darkness” and yet still claim to have fellowship with God. The contrast is simple “God is light” and “sin is darkness”. As you can see the heresy was NOT hypocritical in nature it WAS heretical in nature as it sought to change the character of God to fit the practice of sinful man! Another contrast that is common today is that there is a difference between profession and practice! Five times John writes of this contrast between “saying” and “doing”. John use the words “If we say” in reference to a person’s profession and the words “if we walk” in reference to a person’s practice. The life of the believer must not contradict the talk of the believer is John’s statement.          

Verse 5 establishes five things that must proceed any human responsibility:

A. “This is THE message”: John reveal that this is “divine revelation” and not merely his opinion. And neither was it gained by discovery but rather received by divine truth.

B. “Which we have heard FROM HIM”: The source of the message is Jesus Christ Himself.

C. “Which we have HEARED”: The tense of the Greek makes this mean that this once a sound of long ago but one that was still ringing in John’s ears to which neither the tone nor pitch had diminished.

D. “And DECLARE to you”: This truth was not something that John could or would keep to himself as it was unconcealable!

E. “That God is LIGHT AND IN HIM IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL”: This statement is NOT saying that God is “non-personal” as is the nature of light. The Greek text is without a “definite article” and means that it is to show the quality, nature, or essence of something and not the personality of something. The light that John is describing here is not “physical light” as John is speaking of “spiritual things” and as such is describing the quality, nature, and essence of light from a spiritual, moral, and ethical nature. John strengths this statement about God’s nature by saying “And darkness does not exist, NOT even ONE LITTLE BIT”! Light is pure and glorious; it is the condition of LIFE. Physically it represents glory, intellectually it represents all that is TRUE. Morally, all that is holy and good. When light is defused by God it does so by the primo of love as its color is she everywhere. And it was in this in Genesis 1:3 that God first revealed Himself! It also here that we see the futility of fallen humanity in its attempts to cover their sin. There is no “GREY” area in regard to sin as far as God is concerned it is either “Black or White”!          

Vs 6 If we say

Vs. 6 John now begins on a series of contrasts: The first is to how fallen humanity has attempted to have fellowship with God who is “Light and in Him in no darkness at all” while remaining walking in darkness. The second part of the contrast is show what God has done in true fellowship that continually enables the believer to remain in fellowship with God who is “Light and in Him in no darkness at all”. The first thing that humanity has done is revealed to us in the words… “If we say” that we have fellowship with God while “Walking in darkness” is that we simple lie about it. We are more concerned what others think about us then we are about the truth that we ARE NOT in fellowship with God. People try to deny the “doing” by covering it up with the “talking”. A person will attempt to communicate that they still “have things common with God” likes and dislikes, attitudes and actions same interests and ideas while their actions are completely opposed to His! It is here that the Apostle John interjects “we lie and do not practice truth”. The question is NOT whether or not someone can profess to be a Christian and habitually practice sin as that happens all the time. No, the question is, “Can a professing Christian habitually practice sin and remain in fellowship with God?” The answer to that is an emphatic NO! To make sure we understand this truth John use the word “WALK” if reference is darkness and the word in the Greek speaks of a “continual ordered habitual action” which reveals that a person is not saved! No Child of God who is “Light and in Him in no darkness at all” will remain walking in darkness. If there is no personal “transformation” then there can be no personal “salvation”! Light reveals darkness, where as darkness conceals and hides! The apostle John no doubt remembered Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:19-21 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.Fellowship with the God who is Light and in Him in no darkness at all” can NEVER affirm by our actions what is false nor neglect what is true! Integrity is the first casualty to fallen humanity who becomes insincere as they want to maintain the words of fellowship while denying the truth with their actions.

Vs 7 If we walk

Vs. 7 Here is the positive contrast to the person who says but does not do, a consistent habitual practice of ordering their life around walking in fellowship with God. Here thew person is clearly a believer as only a Christian has been transformed to walk with God. We are to walk the way and direction that God who is “Light and in Him in no darkness at all” dwells. The outward conduct of the soul and action will be in harmony and union with the character of God. John makes a statement here in verse 7 that “we have fellowship with one another” the Greek and the context of the passage doesn’t support the secondary “fellowship of believers with each other” though this would be a “added benefit” instead John’s statement refers to the believer’s fellowship with God and amazingly He with us! How is that possible? Well John tells us that it is due to the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Not only do we have fellowship with God He reciprocates fellowship with us as the fellowship with God is not one-sided and we are like all true love where we Love Him because He first loves us! And while we are having this mutual love fellowship with God the blood of Jesus  continues to cleanse us from sin of omission, sins of ignorance that we are ignorant about as we haven’t grown enough in grace to be aware of them. These sins would prevent us from such sweet fellowship if not covered by the blood of Jesus. It is God who grants us fellowship and Jesus who maintains our opportunity to enjoy such sweet fellowship. What a great exhortation we have from John to be honest before the Lord as such we can make certain of our fellowship with God. John says, “The person who lives a lie loses the light of fellowship!”