Is it possible to be a Christian who walks in darkness? There are many who have grown up in the church (and some who even attend regularly!) whose lives do not reflect the light of God throughout the week. 1 John 1:5 is one of the most important verses in the entire book, “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” John continues by making it clear that Christians who walk in darkness and refuse to confess (and repent) of their sin are not Christians at all. If God is light but we walk in darkness then we have no fellowship with God and no fellowship with each other. Instead, when we walk in darkness but claim to have fellowship with God then “we lie and do not practice the truth” (v.6).
When we confess our sin, God is faithful to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from every impurity. He takes us from darkness and places us in the light. Because we are walking in the light of God together, we have fellowship with one another. Confessing our sin doesn’t turn Christians away from each other. Instead, it actually draws us closer together, because it draws us closer to Christ… together!
No one feels welcomed or loved in a group of posers who are trying to impress each other. But in a community where you can truly drop the facade, there is great acceptance and love. This is what the Church should be like, because Christ is the propitiation of our sins (2:2). That’s a big word that means, “to turn away wrath.” That’s what Jesus did on the cross: he turned away the wrath of God from you by taking it upon himself. Imagine that! When God sees you, there is no wrath whatsoever, because it’s been turned away from you because of Jesus Christ. How else should we respond to the provision of God except through joyful obedience?!
May Emmanuel continue to grow into a church that is shaped by the grace and loving-kindness of God. Because we know that we have been fully loved and fully redeemed by Jesus Christ, there is no need walk around with our guard up. Instead, we live with freedom and joy with a heart that is drawing nearer and nearer to the light of God while simultaneously drawing nearer to one another.
This is the message of 1 John… God is light, in him there is no darkness at all. Draw near to him, and you’ll find yourself drawing nearer to one another. But if you guard yourself from confessing your sin, you’ll find yourself in the darkness and separated from your neighbor. What type of church will you help Emmanuel to become?