1 John 1:5-10 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. 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. 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.”
God’s Love and Grace
What is your idea of God’s love? Many people today think of God’s love more like human love which is based more on feelings and emotions. But God is not like us. And his love is not like what we humans might picture. For, his love considers what is best for us, not necessarily what might make us feel good (Heb 12:1-11; Rev 2-3; Eph 1:3-10).
And what about his grace? His grace also considers what is for our good, not necessarily what will make us feel good. So, his grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts (passions) and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit 2:11-14).
And the reason this is so is because God is good, and he is righteous, and he is holy, and in him dwells no darkness at all. But he sees what sin does to people who do the sinning, and to the people they sin against. And that is why Jesus came to earth to die on a cross for our sins, to save us from sin.
But he didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we would now be empowered of His Spirit to be enslaved to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
If We Say
We can say a lot of things, but as the saying goes, “The proof is in the pudding,” which means there must be evidence to show that what we say is real, i.e., that it isn’t just words. For, the implementation of something is its only true test, i.e., what we do reveals more than what we say.
So, we can claim to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, and to be in fellowship with God, but if we walk (conduct our lives, in practice) in darkness (sin, wickedness), as a matter of practice, then we are liars who do not live by (practice) the truth. For, our actions do not match our words.
And that is because the Scriptures teach that being in relationship with Jesus Christ, and being saved by his grace, means we have been delivered from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. Being saved means we now walk according to the Spirit and no longer do we live according to the flesh (in practice) (Rom 8:1-17).
This is not saying that we will never sin (1 Jn 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer be our master. We should no longer be enslaved to sin. We should not be obeying sin, as a matter of habit, but we should be walking in obedience to our Lord (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26).
Walking in the Light
The light is the opposite of darkness. The Light is Jesus Christ, and the light is righteousness, holiness, godliness, and the true gospel, the word of God. The light is also truth, honesty, morality, uprightness, purity, and faithfulness. It is God’s divine character and his will for our lives.
So, if we are walking in the light, as Jesus is in the light, then we are living lives which are holy, righteous, pure, honest, and faithful, etc. Again, this is not saying we will never sin, but that we aren’t conducting our lives in sinful practices, but we are conducting our lives in the way of holiness.
Now, notice with me what this passage says because many people are confused on this subject of salvation by grace. It says that if we walk (in practice, in conduct) in the light (in truth, righteousness and holiness), that we have fellowship with others who also have fellowship with God.
AND the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. Do you hear what this is saying? Being cleansed from sin is not just contingent on Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross for our sins, but it is also contingent on us walking (in practice, in conduct) in God’s righteousness and holiness and truth.
And it isn’t just John who taught this. Paul taught the same message all throughout his writings. Jesus said the same thing before him, and the other apostles taught it, too. If we live to please the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we live to please the Spirit, then we have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10]
If We Confess
Many people quote v. 9 which says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. So, they have this idea that if they verbally confess that they are a sinner needing a Savior that it means they are cleansed of all sin for eternity.
But is that what it is saying? We have to look at the context. The context is talking about those who profess to be in fellowship with God but who are conducting their lives habitually in willful sin against God. They are liars, for they are not owning up to their own sin, but they are living in denial.
Then, it goes on to tell us that if we walk (conduct our lives) in the light (in truth, as opposed to the lies, and in righteousness and holiness, etc.), then the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. So, instead of living a lie, we are to be living and walking in the truth and in righteousness.
So, then it goes on to say that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess (own up to our sin, call it what it is, be honest, not tell lies) he is faithful to forgive us. But this doesn’t exclude the fact that being honest also means we are walking in the truth, not just saying it with our lips.
For, the word “confess” doesn’t mean to just say “I sinned.” It means to agree with God about our sins. And it means to align ourselves with God and with his truth. It means to speak the same thing as God about our sin. So, this isn’t just words, this is a surrendering of our wills to the will of God.
And it goes with what was said previously, that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives in practice) in sin, we are liars. But if we walk (conduct our lives in practice) in the light (truth, righteousness, and holiness) that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.
So, don’t think you are agreeing with God if all you do is verbally acknowledge sin, but you do nothing to change. God is not fooled by false confessions, or the “sin, confess, sin, confess” habitual lifestyle which does nothing to produce genuine biblical and spiritual change in one’s life.
For, if we truly agree with God regarding what he says about our sin, we repent of that sin, and we allow the Lord to transform us and to conform us to his likeness, and we don’t keep on the path of living in sin while professing that Jesus is our Savior. That would not be agreeing with God about our sin.
The Way That He Loves
By W. Elmo Mercer
Scripture: I John 3:1; I John 3:16
The way that He loves is as fair as the day,
That blesses my way with light.
The way that He loves is as soft as the breeze,
Caressing the trees at night.
So tender and precious is He,
Contented with Jesus I’ll be.
The way that He loves is so thrilling
Because His love reaches even me.
The way that He loves is as deep as the sea,
His spirit shall be my stay.
The way that He loves is as pure as a rose,
Much sweeter He grows each day.
His peace hovers near like a dove.
I know there’s a heaven above.
To Jesus I cling, life’s a wonderful thing
Because of the way He loves.
Caution: This link may contain ads