Reading the Word
1 John 1:5–10 (ESV)
5 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. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Understanding the Word
In the previous verses, John spoke of bringing people into fellowship with God through the proclamation of the gospel. In these verses, he begins to talk about what true fellowship with God looks like.
John tells us first that God is light. By this he speaks of God’s purity and holiness. If we are in fellowship with the one who is light, then it is impossible to continue to walk in darkness. Darkness is here used to speak of sin. You simply cannot have fellowship with the light if you live your life in darkness. The two do not go together.
Applying the Word
The book of 1 John gives us a series of tests to help us determine if we really belong to God or not (1 John 5:13). This first test asks if we are still living in the same sinful way we did before we heard the gospel message. If we are still living in sin, we do not have a relationship with God. If we say we do, we are lying to ourselves and others.
It is important to understand that John is not saying that true believers will not sin. He is clear that we will (1 John 1:9). Thankfully, we have a God who is forgiving when we confess our sins. However, a life unchanged and characterized by sinfulness is a life that has no fellowship with the God who is light. May we acknowledge our sin and turn to the one who is able to save us and give us new life.
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