God is Light
1 John 1:5-6 ESV
“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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
God is truth. He is righteousness. He is holiness. He is honor and dignity. He is faithfulness and integrity. He is purity. There is no evil in him whatsoever. All that he is or ever will be is good. He is life and the giver of life. He is our Redeemer and our Savior.
So, if we say that we have fellowship (friendship, communion, intimacy) with him while we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we lie and we do not practice (live by) the truth.
Paul said if we walk (live) according to the flesh, it results in death, for the mind that is set on the flesh is death, for it is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law. Thus, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:1-17).
And, Jesus said that if we would come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him, for if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for Christ’s sake (die with him daily to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu 9:23-26).
There are many other passages of Scripture, too, which talk about the importance of how we walk, of how we live our lives, and they tell us, too, that if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
So, how we live matters to God, and it matters for our eternity. For, we aren’t “saved” and then we live our lives, and then one day we get to go to heaven. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns, when our salvation is complete.
So, if we have this idea that we can be “saved” and bound for heaven, but that our sins don’t matter, or that we can ignore the commands of God, or that we can continue in our sinful practices without consequence, then we need to think again.
We Have Fellowship
1 John 1:7 ESV
“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.”
Many people have this idea that faith in Jesus Christ is just some acknowledgment of who Jesus is and to what he did for us in dying for our sins on that cross. Or, they might think it is some public and verbal confession of him as Lord, or some acknowledgment of his death and resurrection. Some believe it is a prayer to “receive Jesus into their hearts.”
Some people see their salvation from sin as some sort of status they now possess which gives them their “identity” in Christ regardless of whether or not they ever repent of their sin, walk in obedience to the Lord, or honor Jesus Christ as truly Lord (owner-master) of their lives.
And, they teach God’s grace to us as though it is free license to continue living in sin now that we are “under grace.” Some people even blatantly proclaim that we don’t have to turn away from our sins (repent), that we don’t have to obey the Lord, and we don’t have to submit to him as Lord.
But they alter the gospel. They bring God down to their level, and they reduce his gospel message to something agreeable with sin and wickedness. For many are teaching that faith is a one-time event that guarantees them heaven when they die, but that how they live won’t affect their eternity.
But the Scriptures teach our salvation as a lifestyle. They teach our salvation as something ongoing until it is complete when Jesus returns. Holiness is not optional! Walking in freedom from bondage to sin is also not optional. We must walk (conduct our lives) in the light of God, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness (Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
If We Say
1 John 1:8-10 ESV
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Context is everything here. This is a presentation of the gospel message. If we claim, as human beings, that we have no sin at all, that we have never sinned, or that we are not born into this world with sin natures, we are deceived. The truth is not in us. We deny that we are sinners by nature, and therefore we deny that we are in need of salvation from sin.
But if we confess our sins… but this is not a mere acknowledgment of sin. And, it is not a one-time event in our lives, either. This has to do with repentance, which is the forsaking of our sinful lifestyles to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, and this is daily (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
For, what did it say in verse seven? It says if we “walk” in the light, as he is in the light… and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. And, Paul said we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. And, Jesus said that daily we must take up our cross and follow (obey) him (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 8:1-17).
Any denial of sin is a denial of God/Jesus and of the Word of God. But this doesn’t mean we go around confessing sin we don’t commit, either. For some people wear their confession of sin almost like a badge of honor, as though by admitting how much they sin that it means they are honest.
If we, as those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, continue living in sin, and we openly claim that we sin all the time, that is not a badge of honor. That is shame and disgrace. As followers of Jesus we shouldn’t be sinning all the time. We shouldn’t daily be lying, cheating, stealing, and committing adultery, etc. For, Jesus set us free from slavery to sin.
We should be honest about sin, yes. We should never cover-up sin or deny sins we commit or lie about them. But if we openly admit to sinning daily, that is not a good thing. This is not to say that we will never sin again if we are believing in Jesus, but sin should no longer be our practice. We should no longer be under the control of sin.
For, if we walk (conduct our lives) in sin, yet we claim to be in fellowship with God, we are liars who don’t live by the truth. We must be those who walk in the light of God, who walk according to the Spirit of God, and who don’t walk (live our lives) according to the flesh. Then we have the hope of eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; Gal 6:7-8).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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