Walking in the Light (2)

“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” wrote the beloved John (1 John 1:5). Darkness and light have nothing in common. Paul asked, “What communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:15). The obvious answer is none. 1 John 1:7 reads, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” There is but one path of light from this life to eternal glory. It is the way prescribed and illuminated by the Bible. Let us consider a few more facts involved in this grand and glorious walk.

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Here are two magnificent blessings from God which are of great comfort to Christians. To enjoy those blessings, Christians are obligated to comply with the conditions God has stipulated. The conditions are comprehensively described as walking in the light, never turning back to the darker side of life.

God is light, and to be with God one must walk in the light. Walking is a figurative way of describing “the whole round of the activities of the individual life.” (W.E. Vine). Walking in the light establishes a right relationship with God. Penitent believers who are baptized into Christ are “raised to walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Only those who walk in the new life are Christians and they are to be as much like God as possible. Paul wrote, “Therefore be followers of God as dear children” (Eph. 5:1). Fellowship is generated from an intense desire and willingness to live a godly life. B.F. Westcott wrote, “The Christian can in his measure imitate God, and as he does so, he realises fellowship with the brethren, which is the visible sign of fellowship with God.” (Commentary, The Epistles of John, page 19).

All who walk in the light are blessed with continued cleansing from sin. “... and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses (keeps on cleansing) us from all sin.” In addition to being in fellowship with God, the blood of Christ keeps the Christian cleansed from all sin. Both fellowship with God and cleansing from all sin are possible only by walking in the light of God’s word. 1 John 1:7 introduces these blessings with the word “if.” “If” introduces a conditional sentence and is followed by a condition that must be met.

Walking in light is the condition upon which we may be in fellowship with God. He offers us His companionship and the cleansing from all of our sins. As one continues to walk in the light, fellowship with God is maintained and cleansing from sin continues. Neither fellowship with God nor cleansing from sin is automatic. There is a very clear procedure given in the New Testament by which the sins of Christians are forgiven. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all lawlessness” (1 John 1:9).

A faithful gospel preacher put it this way: “The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ continuously cleanses a Christian of sin -- if. If he walks in the light. If he confesses his sins (1 John 1:9). Confessing one’s sins is part of walking in the light.” (Edward Bragwell, The Reflector, July 1991, page 4). All humans will become guilty of sin at some time in life. Solomon wrote, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccl. 7:20). Hundreds of years later, Paul added, “... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). John said, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

It is possible to cease walking in the light and thus forfeit the blessings of fellowship with God and cleansing from sin. The blood of Christ does not continue cleansing the sins of Christians who make no effort at all to confess and forsake sins. Some false teachers erroneously represent the blood of Christ as a blanket or umbrella that covers the sinning person all the time thereby preventing God from seeing the sin or the sinner. That false doctrine gives the false assurance that there is no need to worry about sin. The doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is an example of this perverted view. It is a hideous false doctrine. We must acknowledge that forgiveness of all sins is conditional. None who cease walking with God in the light should expect to continue enjoying benefits God puts in Christ.

Cleansing from sin is complete and constant. When God forgives His children they are completely cleansed. “Cleanseth” is from the Greek term katharidzo. It means to make something free from all impurities. Katharidzo literally means ridding something of pollutants, filth, or contamination. Used in a religious context, it means purification through propitiation (Hermann Cremer, Biblio-Theological Lexicon, page 317). It is an act of God by which he removes all our sins from our record. The Hebrew writer quoted a prophetic statement that when God forgives He forgets our sins. “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17).

There is an analogy between cleansing from sin and the cleansing of lepers in the Bible. Leprosy is a very deadly and loathsome disease. It is so contaminating that those afflicted with it are normally exiled from society. Miriam and Aaron who tried to usurp the function of Moses, the law giver, were punished and Miriam was stricken with leprosy. Aaron came quickly to Moses and pled with him, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay {this} sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned” (Num. 12:11). Try to visualize the horrible nature of this disease in which the flesh literally decays and rots away. However, the Lord cured Miriam and no trace of it remained. Naaman, a captain in the army of Syria, was afflicted with leprosy but healed by God’s power and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14).

The comparison of cleansing leprosy and sin shows how totally and absolutely God cleanses the sinner. The leper was cleansed of every stain of the dreaded disease. Those who sin, even while walking in the light, who confess their sins and seek pardon, are wholly and completely cleansed. No trace of the sin remains. When God forgives a person completely, so should we. If others offend us and ask for pardon our forgiveness must be as complete as God’s forgiveness to us when we sin against him. When God forgives us of our sins, we also have to forgive ourselves. We may never forget our blunders, but we certainly can bask in the radiance of the assurance that God, when he forgives us, has forgotten our past sins.

Fellowship with God is a partnership. Usually, partnership exists between equal partners, but that cannnot be true when God is one of the partners. In verse 7 the phrase, “we have fellowship one with another” is interpreted by some to mean a fellowship of God, who is light, and those who walk in his light. If that is the true meaning it cannot be an equal partnership. A. Plummer wrote, “He (John) would scarcely have expressed the relation between God and man by a phrase which seems to imply equality between those united in fellowship.” (Cambridge Greek New Testament for Schools and Colleges.)

“One with another” often is limited to those who walk in light. God does not walk anywhere. He simply is. Those who walk in the light are the ones who have the fellowship and form the partnership “one with another.” Verse 3 mentions fellowship among members of the family of God. John calls it a “fellowship with us” and says that fellowship is “with” the Father. A passage that is somewhat parallel mentions Jehovah hearkening to those who speak “one with another” (Mal. 3:16).

John uses the expression “one with another” later in this same letter. He said, “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23). Here “one another” means love from brother to brother. Jesus prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as you, Father, {are} in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21). Those who are walking in the light are those for whom Jesus prayed, that by the words revealed through the apostles they might be one. Unity and fellowship in Christ are maintained when all Christians walk in the light, when they all follow the word of God. The light of 1 John 1 is the word of John 17.

Light represents the good in the Bible and darkness the evil. Where there is light, there is happiness, honesty, and association of good with good. The opposite is true of darkness. In darkness there is sin, depravity, disunity, discord, chaos, and ugliness. Fellowship with God is impossible outside his word. The children of Israel were slaves in Egypt. During their enslavement they were oppressed by Pharaoh. God sent Moses to emancipate them. To convince Pharaoh, God sent plagues on the land, one of which was absolute and total darkness. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness {which} may even be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” (Exo. 10:22,23). During the darkness all association and fellowship ceased. Only when light returned was communion between the people possible. In the spiritual world, when Christians walk in the light, they have fellowship, the tie that binds -- only in Christ. Salvation is not in darkness but light. Light fills the body of Christ, His church.

Faithful obedience to God is required in order to continue walking in the light. Belief that leads one to true repentance, which in turn brings one to be baptized for the remission of sins is what God requires. If you haven’t done that, why wait any longer. The following comes from the lage Charles R. Brewer:

“Many wise and great of this earth live in darkness because they have not accepted the simple teaching of the word of God. God has made His way simple and plain so that all may enjoy the blessing of heavenly light. And they are wise who accept the simplicity of the gospel, however foolish they may appear in the eyes of men. He gives light for one step at a time. We may not see all that God has for us, but we can take each step as we see it, and as we do that we can be moving onward toward greater knowledge and richer blessings.

Here are some steps that God wants you to take:

1. Believe on the Lord with all your heart (Acts 16:31).

2. Repent of all sin (Acts 2:38).

3. Confess your faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9).

4. Be buried in baptism (Acts 2 :38; Col. 2 :12; Gal. 3:26‑27).

If you obey those simple commands you will then be added to his church (Acts 2:41, 47).” Be Not Dismayed, pages 43-44.

If you have a question about this please let us hear from you. valleychurch@vscoc.org

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