Walking In The Light
1 John 1:5-10
January 12, 2020
- Both back in the 1st century when this letter was written as well as today, light and darkness serve as powerful metaphors for good and evil.
- This text is about who belongs to the realm of darkness…the realm evil, the realm of Satan & who belongs to the realm of light, the realm of good, the realm where God dwells.
- John’s original audience was wondering (of the false teachers) — to what realm did these teachers and their followers belong?
- The realm of light or the realm of darkness?
- The realm of God or the realm of Satan?
- The realm of righteousness or the realm of evil?
- In our passage and in this entire epistle, the Apostle John in an attempt to care for these disillusioned believers seeks to answer these questions.
- John begins — verse 5, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” It necessarily follows that certain characteristics will define the one who walks according to the light, that is God Himself.
- In our passage John gives us three of those qualities or characteristics.
The One who walks in the light…
I. Embraces Godliness
What It Means To Practice The Truth
Verse 1 – If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness we lie and do not practice the truth.
- To practice the truth is not merely to proclaim the truth with words, but to obey the truth in thought, word and deed.
- Here in vs.1 John makes it clear, if someone makes the claim to have fellowship with God and yet — they walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners and sit in the seat of scoffers–their claim is false. They lie; they walk in darkness and do not practice the truth.
- This was a serious indictment on the spiritual state of these false teachers and their followers. They were in a dangerous place.
- It is a serious indictment on anyone who claims to know God, yet stubbornly refuses to walk according to his righteous ways.
- It should be noted the Apostle John here does NOT make perfection or sinlessness the prerequisite for fellowship with God (see verse 8).
- John is NOT requiring sinless perfection for fellowship. He is however, making it plain that the one who persists in sinful behavior — who willfully, deliberately, habitually engages in evil deeds and stubbornly refuses to repent—that person’s claim to fellowship and relationship with God is false.
 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.
- In Verse 5 we read God is light . Now – Verse 7 starts off– If we walk in the light, as he is in the light...well then, there are these amazing privileges, these wonderful blessings, these magnificent benefits that come to us..
What Does It Mean To Walk In The Light?
- Part of what it means to walk in the light is to love others. 1 John 2:10 says ,“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light….”
- Walking in the light means walking in love towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we walk in genuine biblical love towards one another overcoming all obstacles that might hinder us, we powerfully radiate the light of Christ.
- But that’s not all it means to walk in the light. We are to walk in the light John says — as He, that is God Himself is in the light.
- God exists in the realm of light. He exists in the realm of all that is holy, righteous and pure, good, lovely and true. Hence the person who walks in the light, walks in that same manner – not perfectly -but they embrace godliness and their lives progressively, increasingly reflect the righteousness, holiness, purity that is seen in God himself.
The Fruit Of Walking In The Light — Fellowship
- When we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another. Just as in verse 3, here again we see the high value the Apostle John places on fellowship among believers.
 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. — 1 Peter 2:9
- As people of the light we have fellowship with one another. That’s what the church is all about.
 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. (ESV)
“Alternatively [of the sinner], he comes, sin and all, into the light, and to his amazement discovers that the dark blemishes disappear. The blood of Jesus, God’s Son cleanses from all sin.” – I. Howard Marshall
II. Acknowledges Their Sin
1 John 1:8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (ESV)
Verse 10 says something similar. “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
- The false teachers evidently claimed they had no sin.
- John is clear, anyone who makes that claim is definitively NOT of the truth; they are not walking in the light, they are NOT genuine Christians.
- He clearly implies, if the truth is indeed in us, we will say we have sin. That is, anyone who is of the truth will humbly acknowledge their sin, admit their sin, own their sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”
- One defining mark of a true, authentic, genuine Christian is they freely acknowledge and own their sin.
Are you quick to hire a defense attorney? When my wife, in faithful love, points out a wrong in me, my first response is rarely one of humble confession. Instead, I gather evidence of my righteousness and go to court to defend my words and actions, even when I know she’s accurate! It makes no sense for a follower of Christ to do that. If the penalty for our sin has been paid in full, we are set free to admit to our weakness, sin, and failure. — Paul Tripp
- Every day, God by His Spirit invites us when we sin to step out of the darkness into His light.
III. Confesses Their Sin
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- This is one of the most glorious promises in all of Scripture. When we walk in the light, when we acknowledge our sin. when we own our sin, when we admit our sin before God and humbly confess our sin, God promises that “he is faithful and just to forgive us of those sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
- When we sin, there is a way forward. That way is stepping into the light. The way forward is humble, honest, heartfelt acknowledgement and confession of sin.
- When we confess, it is not as if we are justified again. What happens is that our justification, what Christ has done for us, the gospel is applied once again to our hearts by the Holy Spirit and we experience at the grace of restored fellowship with our heavenly Father and a cleansed conscience.
- Let each of us consider: “What does it mean for me to walk in the light today?”
- May God by His Spirit help us to walk in new levels of openness and honesty with Him and appropriate others about the struggles of our hearts.
- May God by His Spirit help us to confess our sins to him and receive the grace and mercy and forgiveness that comes with walking in the light.
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 John 1:5-10. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- John says, verse 5, “God is light.” What does it mean that “God is light” ?
- What does it mean practically for us as God’s people to walk in the light?
- 1 John 2:10 says ,“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light….” In seeking to reflect the light of God, why is it so crucially important that in the church, we walk in love towards on another? What are the blessings that come with walking in love? What are the consequences for failure to do so?
- How does this passage speak to the licentious person — the person who says “It doesn’t matter if I sin in this way or that way, because God will forgive me anyway?”
- How does this passage speak to the believer who is battling a sense of nagging condemnation and guilt ?
- Why can acknowledging and confessing our sins, especially to others be such a struggle? Can you relate to Paul Tripp’s “inner defense attorney” illustration? If so, how?
- In what ways do you think you might need to grow in open, honest, humble confession of sin before the Lord — and perhaps others as well?
- How do you sense God is challenging you to grow in response to this passage?