That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life…
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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, purifies us from all sin.1 John 1:1, 5-7
Once again we see that the message we receive in the books of the New Testament are not speculation about Jesus. What we are reading are the eyewitness accounts of those who “heard,” “have seen,” “looked at,” and “touched” Jesus Himself.
The message that John is proclaiming is one that he heard from Jesus and now is relaying to us. What is that message? God is light; in him there is no darkness. There is no imperfection. There is no lack of justice or lack of love. There is no darkness at all.
Having fellowship with this kind of God means that we too must walk in the light. We too must live out the truth. And when we stay in the light, two beautiful things happen.
First, we have fellowship with one another. There is a unity that results from purity. There is a community that is born out of holiness. Walking in the light not only connects us intimately with the Father, but it begins to connect us with others who are walking in the light. We become the family of God. We become true brothers and sisters in Christ.
We too often think “personal sin” has no effect on anyone but ourselves. But we see here that sin, even when it is so-called “private,” has communal ramifications. Infection in one part of the Body, when not addressed, spreads to the rest of the body. Sin brings division.
The second thing that happens when we walk in the light is that the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. Here John mixes his metaphors, but we get the picture. Light cleanses and purifies. The longer we stay in the light, walk in the light, live in the light the more different areas of our life get cleaned out. Layer by layer the Holy Spirit restores and heals. Room by room the light of Christ exposes the moldy areas and lets fresh air in.
There are people who do “good things” who are walking in darkness. Walking in darkness is about being out of step with the Holy Spirit and heading in the opposite direction of Christ. It’s a lack of surrender. It is a self-directed, self-sufficient, self-absorbed life. Walking in darkness is about the trajectory of a person’s life.
We can’t claim to have fellowship with God, intimacy with God, friendship with God and continue to walk in darkness. Those two realities are incompatible. Walking in the light doesn’t mean we are perfect. We can walk in the light and make mistakes. We simply recognize our sin or error, ask forgiveness, repent, get up, and keep walking. Walking in the light is about moving in the direction of the light, not about being perfect. It’s about keeping in step with the Spirit and letting the Light guide our steps.