If we walk in the light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another and the Blood of Jesus Christ God’s son, cleanses us from all sin.? (I john 1:7)
What does it mean to ‘walk in the Light’?
We know it doesn’t mean that we walk in sinless perfection, otherwise we would not be assured that the one who walks in the light is continuously cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus Christ.
What then does the passage mean,’If we walk in the light…”.
Earlier in the same section of scripture, John tells us that the message we heard from the start is this, “…God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”
What is light? It is in scripture an emblem of beauty, splendor, purity, and of safety. It also symbolizes Revelation, “in thy Light shall we see Light...”.God Himself dwells in Light that no man may approach.
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.( I Timothy 6:16)
None of the above explanations answer the question about what it means to walk in the Light, though all of them do describe the nature of God.
Scripture directs us to another function of the Light of God that I believe gives us the answer.
Light exposes everything, showing all things in their true character.In the true light, all things are seen for what they are, and nothing more or less than what they truly are.
Isaiah found this out when he encountered the vision of God in the temple;
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.(Isaiah 6:1-5)
When the Prophet received a glimpse of God in His glory,(High and lifted up), He also saw himself through new eyes, and called upon himself damnation. To truly see God is to see yourself in all of your sinfulness.
Simon, who would one day become Peter, had a similar experience when he was a fisherman, and thought he was just dealing with a mere preacher, in Jesus. The preacher wanted to borrow his boat one day.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.(Luke 5:1-6)
Suddenly the fisherman realized that this Jesus was not just an itinerant Rabbi, He saw the glory f God in Him, just as Isaiah had in the temple. Simon’s reaction was similar too,
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.(Luke 5:8)
Literally the text says that Simon was” falling down while looking up…” at Jesus as He denounced his own sinfulness in the presence of the Glory of God.
In both cases an encounter with God became a painful revelation of the Self, both men became keenly aware of their deep sinfulness and worthiness of nothing but damnation(Woe).
The true Light exposes and is uncomfortable to sinful men.
To walk in the light is to be willing to walk in the Holy light of exposure to God. I remember going to church for the first times, and thinking, “Who is telling the preacher my sins?” , and also thinking, “They can all see me, how sinful and unworthy I am”. These were my feelings, but I was wrong. God is the one in church who “exposes the secrets of men’s hearts”. It isn’t the preacher or the congregation which gives you those feelings, it is God himself who is light.
I have no doubt that Isaiah and Simon wanted to run but in both cases they remained in the Light of God, and found a beautiful truth…the same Light that exposes sin and evil within us, will also purge it out of us if we but remain in the Light!