(1 John 1:5-2:2)
The apostle John was a man on a mission with a message. "God is light." This was the message that John declared. Jesus Himself had announced, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12. This is the message that John and the other disciples "had heard from Him."
Some people ask, "Where did sin and evil come from?" For centuries philosophers and theologians have wrestled with this problem. John makes one thing quite clear, writing, "In Him is no darkness at all."
Notice the six ifs recorded in this portion of Scripture that we are studying. Each one is of great significance to us. They teach conditional truths. If this, then that.
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." Fellowship with God was a Gnostic claim. It's quite clear that no one living in the darkness of sin is walking in fellowship with God, who is light. Those who walk in darkness are not following the Light of the world.
"If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." Do you want to walk with God? Do you want to experience the blessings of fellowship with Him? Walk in the light. When you set your heart to follow the Lord, He will continually shed light upon your way. The path grows brighter and brighter from day to day.
We not only fellowship with God, but we also enter into a rich fellowship with other believers. Fellowship in the church takes on new meaning as we "fellowship with one another."
Another blessing of walking in the light with God is continual cleansing. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." The verb in that sentence is in the progressive present tense, which means that the blood keeps on cleansing us. Thank God for the blood of the Lamb!
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." Unfortunately, some Christians believe that their old, sinful nature has been eradicated. Gnostics conveniently acted indifferently toward sin. Don't kid yourself. Even though you have become a new creation in Jesus Christ you still possess the potential to commit the grossest of sins.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This is not the way of salvation. It is the Christian's way to restored fellowship with the Lord. We see our sins as God sees our sins, and we confess them to Him, asking for His forgiveness and cleansing.
"If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar." In this situation there is an acknowledgement of the sinful nature, but a denial of the act of sin. God's word says, "For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." Ecclesiastes 7:20.
"If anyone (any Christian) sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Jesus is the believer's defense attorney in the court of heaven. This verse doesn't teach the He represents us when we confess our sins, but when we sin. "He Himself is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." Thank God! He pleads His precious blood on our behalf. In Christ we are secure.
There are those who think that this teaching encourages Christians to sin. The apostle John didn't think so. He wrote, "My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin." Walk in the light. Be quick to confess known sin. Praise God for dealing with our sins righteously through the sacrifice of Jesus.