This 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. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But 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.( I John 1:5-7)
In John’s epistle, which concerns itself with the true Knowledge of God as opposed to the false, there are various expressions used to describe the same thing. Knowing God is refered to as Remaining in Him, Knowing Him, Being begotten of Him, having eternal Life, and walking in the light, among others.
Remember that the entire epistle is formed around the three simple theological propositional statements ; God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all… God is Love… and Jesus Christ has come (and remains) in the flesh. Out of these statements come a threefold test to determine the reality of eternal life, the Test of Holiness, because God is Light. The Test of Love , for God is Love, and the test of belief in the doctrine of Christ.
Knowing God is a walk. Being reborn is only the beginning, it is the start of an ongoing journey , a pilgrimage. The Walk is in the Light of Him who is the true light, and in whose presence all things are revealed in their true nature. When a man truly comes to Christ he comes to the Light.
What does it mean to walk in the Light? It couldn’t mean a sinless walk because verse 7 tells us that if we walk in the light, “…the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin…”. Walking in the light is not the same as walking in perfection, God knows who we are and where we are at.
Walking in the Light of God means walking in the Light of exposure. The man who walks in the light is the man who has given up all pretense, he is committed to reality. He is the one who has come to God and is willing to be known for who he truly is, no fig leaves, he remains in the light of exposure.
When a man receives eternal life, he craves light from God. “In your light shall we see light”. The truly born again man wants to know who God is, He desires strongly the truth about himself ( no matter how painful). He is willing to see himself as God see’s him and to part with his former self-serving illusions about himself. He loves the preacher that shows him his sins.
The true work of the Spirit in a man’s life causes him to be totally honest about his sins and his sin nature. He has been brought to the point where he constantly confesses his sins to God. Confession means to say the same thing about them as God says, taking God’s side against them, and depending on God to forgive and cleanse them.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.( I John 1:9)
The Gnostics on the other hand are in denial, for they walk not in the true Light. They deny that sin is real,
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.( I John 1:10)
or they deny the sin nature, (sin in the singular)…
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.( I John 1:8)
They deny that sins of any kind can alter their relationship with God.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:( I John 1:6)
On the other hand, those who walk in darkness work hard to suppress all sense and conviction of sin. This is the very essence of darkness. they prefer a cloud of obfuscation, speculation, vain philosophy to the glaring light of God as revealed in Jesus, the Word of God. In His light all is seen as it is in truth.
If the born again man wants to know his condition in the light of God, the one who remains in darkness is marked by his steadfast refusal to know. Instinctively he shuts the curtains and closes the door to God, he doesn’t want to “go there” under any circumstances. He will not admit or acknowledge God, the glory of God or the reality of his own sin. That is the biblical meaning of darkness.
Jesus tells us that the basis for the final judgment of all men, is God’s light, and the rejection or acceptance of it. Men either love or hate the Light, neutrality is impossible. “Doing evil” is the same, to Jesus, as “hating the Light”.
“Doing truth” according to Jesus isn’t being perfect, or arriving at sinlessness, rather it is the simple willingness to come into the light of Life in the sight of God, and remain there with the rest of the fellowship, no matter how uncomfortable at times. On this issue hinges nothing less than Heaven and hell.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. ( John 3:19-21)