Yesterday we continued our journey through 1 John as a church family. I was privileged to preach from 1 John 1:5-10 and the main idea of the passage was focused on evaluating your walk to make sure it aligns with your talk. In other words, your profession of faith should match your life of faith. John is interested in pushing his readers to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith or merely in religion.
The way John begins this section of verses is by pointing out some important realities about God’s nature and character. John speaks with a measure of authority as an apostle who spent much time with Jesus as one of his inner circle. John points out that he has a message that was given to him directly by Jesus. He then moves on to state two important realities about God:
- God is light
- There is no darkness in God
This is an important theme of John through his Gospel and this epistle—light and darkness. His statement about God’s nature is that God is pure, radiant, and holy and his character is true and trustworthy with no darkness in him at all. This is essential for every person to know because it separates our God from the myriads of false gods that litter the hallway of history.
John then moves to examine the lifestyle of his readers. John made a very important statement and then contrasted it with a follow-up statement.
1 John 1:6-7 — 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.
Fellowship (κοινωνία) with God means that we share life with him and walk in intimacy with him. John points out that this is impossible if a person walks in darkness. If an individual professes to have fellowship with God but the person has a lifestyle of sin and depravity, that individual lies and does not practice a life of truthfulness.
However, on the flip side of that same coin, John points out that the person who walks in the light (which is pointing back to the reality that God is light), enjoys fellowship with God and as a result—the church. True Christian κοινωνία is a life of genuine friendship, accountability, worship, study, prayer, and pursuit of holiness. This should be the ongoing reality of the entire church family.
The life of depravity and deceit is then pointed out by John whereby he warns of the hardened heart that refuses to confess sin. Such an individual has been blinded by the devil (2 Cor. 4:4) and cannot see that he has sinned against God. Donald Grey Barnhouse writes:
It is only stubborn self-pride that keeps man from the confession to God that would bring release, but that way he refuses to take. Man stands before God today like a little boy who swears with crying and tears that he has not been anywhere near the jam jar, and who with an air of outraged innocence, pleads the justice of his position, in total ignorance of the fact that a good spoonful of the jam has fallen on his shirt under his chin and is plainly visible to all but himself. 
The point that John labors at the end is that there is hope in God through Christ. God is faithful and just to forgive sinners, but to the one who rejects and refuses to confess—there will be no forgiveness.
What about you? In a world of religious confusion, it would be a good and profitable exercise for you to pause briefly today and ask yourself an eternally significant question. How do you know that you have eternal life?
- Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans: Expositions of Bible Doctrines Taking the Epistle to the Romans as a Point of Departure, Vol. 1.,“God’s Wrath: Romans 2-3:1-20,” (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1953), 191)