“5This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” ~ 1 John 1:5-7
LIGHT vs. DARKNESS
God is exclusively light. This statement does not tell us what light is, or what darkness is; it simply defines God as being exclusively one of the two opposing concepts. Even before defining what light is and/or what the opposite of light (i.e., darkness) is, the big message is that God is exclusively one of the two. In other words, in defining God, a line is drawn: an impenetrable paradigmatic boundary.
The practical necessity of God’s exclusive nature becomes clearer in the next verses. But the purpose of the opening statement is to establish the premise of the ensuing arguments and to alert the reader that there are two paths to choose from: two paths between which there is an unbridgeable and bottomless chasm indicating the complete and defining absence of a middle ground: there is no compromise; there is no “third way”.
“I [Jesus] am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” ~ John 12:46
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” ~ James 1:17
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD: WALKING IN THE LIGHT
Consequently, fellowship with God (v. 6) is also exclusive. Any attempt to dwell in both light and darkness defines that ‘dweller’ as being in darkness. To have fellowship with God precludes the possibility of having anything to do with darkness. To walk in darkness while fellowshipping with God would introduce darkness into God, however, based on the premise of the preceding statement, this is impossible.
The practical indication of this result is jarring. Fellowship with God requires a total commitment to exclusivity in the Believer/Disciple/Worshipper. Fellowship with God requires, demands, absolute purity of heart and mind, absolute purity of one’s being. There is no possibility of fellowshipping with God if there is any trace of sin in my heart (my emotions), my mind (my thinking) or my attitude (my approach).
Verse six also implies that fellowship is deeply intimate, so intimate that it puts at risk the very essence, the very definition, of God. Consider this example: There is one glass with clean, absolutely pure water, and another glass with dirty, sewage-infused water. While separate, it is clear that one glass of water is safe to drink and the other glass is toxic. However, if both glasses are combined we now have only sewage-infused water. The purity of the first is gone.
When God fellowships with us, He infuses us with Himself. No, we don’t become gods but He is fully intermixed and entwined with us: He indwells us! So much so, that if darkness is present in us He would be contaminated. And since God must remain God, since God cannot be diminished, He cannot have fellowship with any one who walks in darkness: the chasm is unbridgeable, the boundary is impenetrable.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” ~ John 14:23
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in The Spirit, if so be that The Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not The Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but The Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if The Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” ~ Romans 8:9-11
WALKING IN DARKNESS
It is clear then that walking in darkness is walking separate from God. And while walking in darkness one sees no light. We often fool ourselves into believing that we have some ability to see right, or even do right while walking apart from God. This is clearly not possible. The man walking apart from God is always walking in sin. Consequently, it is not our actions that make anything sinful, it is our separation from God that defines sin.
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” ~ Proverbs 15:8
If we are apart from God everything we do is abominable. There is no way to be righteous when in darkness, because there is no light in darkness. God is not there. We cannot accomplish righteousness apart from God.
Therefore, the challenge is never to get wrongdoers (of any kind, or stripe) to stop doing wrong; the challenge is always to get any wrongdoer to walk in fellowship with God. If that wrongdoer is a Christian, then their challenge is to return to fellowship with God. If the wrongdoer is an unbeliever, their challenge is to receive –by grace, through faith– the salvation of Jesus Christ which enables them to have fellowship with God! Anything else, leaves us in walking in darkness where ALL actions are abominable.
FELLOWSHIP WITH ANOTHER
Verse seven, introduces us to some more practical results of the axiom that God is exclusively light. The first one is that it enables us to have fellowship with each other. Fellowship between individuals is good, it originates in the light, the light that God is. Therefore, if one is to have fellowship with another, it must be mediated by our fellowship with God, it must occur in the light. Fellowship does not occur outside of the light, fellowship does not occur without God.
This is an uncomfortable, unnerving reality. We often think of mutually shared emotion as fellowship, we think because I feel good around you and you feel good around me that we have fellowship. Clearly, this is not the case: Fellowship is spiritual and only occurs in the light and while it might be accompanied by emotion, it is not defined by emotion. Rather, it is defined by holiness and it is precluded by darkness, by sin. Moreover it is reserved for, exclusive to, those walking in fellowship with God, to those walking in the light.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14
A second outcome of the premise, that God is exclusively light, is of great comfort. Genuine introspection reveals our constant battle with darkness: our constant tendency and actuality to deviate from the light that is God and into the darkness where God is not. How then can we ever hope to fellowship with God??
The constancy of the pull and the tendency to err means that the opportunities to fellowship with God are often few and fleeting. But God knows us and He has already put a plan in place: The Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son. The Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin. That is, The Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son RESTORES broken fellowship. The Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son RESCUES us from the darkness and ALL its effects. Hallelujah!!!
Consequently, (as verses 8-10 tell us), all we have to do is recognize when we have slipped into darkness, tell God about it and ask Him to bring us back into the Light. If we do that, then The Blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, restores us, puts us back into fellowship with God so that we can resume our walk in the Light. Amen!
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us… For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” ~ Ephesians 2:13-14, 18
(NOTE: The Blood of Jesus does not ‘bridge’ the gap between darkness and light; rather, it ‘translates’ us from darkness into God’s marvelous light)