This summer, we are studying the wonderful little epistle of 1 John. As an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, John gives us understanding into why Jesus did what He did, and how we should respond.
John explains to us exactly what kind of love we should have, only because God has shown us first. This kind of love is self-sacrificing, all-embracing, and non-exclusive. John is writing to those who have believed in the message of Jesus and now shows us exactly how to live in light of that faith. He shows us three signs, as found in 1 John 1, of a believer. Let’s take a look at those signs.
Sign #1: Do you recognize the facts?
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. – 1 John 1.1-4 (NLT)
First of all, John and the other disciples were eyewitnesses to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. They saw Him work miracles, they saw Him teach, they saw Him suffer and die. First-hand they experienced the Word of Life, and now John writes to tell us what they know so that we may share in the same kind of fellowship and joy they experienced in the flesh with Jesus. With this in mind, do we accept the facts of Jesus? In the spring, we journeyed through the Gospel of Mark and learned the life and facts about Jesus Christ. His teaching, His miracles, His death and resurrection and His eventual return. John writes to those who recognize and have believed in the facts about Jesus Christ. So, do you recognize those facts? Do you share in the fellowship and joy that John writes to us about?
Sign #2: Are you convicted by your sin?
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. – 1 John 1.8-10 (NLT)
Some strong, yet encouraging, words from John. Our next sign shows that a believer must be convicted of their sin. Do you justify your sin, making it appear more as a virtue than a vice? Do you ignore certain sins in your life hoping they’ll go away or that people will not take notice? John tells us that if we practice such acts then we are liars, lying to God and ourselves. But, as John says, if we are convicted by and confess our sins, He is faithful to offer us forgiveness AND a cleansing from all unrighteousness. WOW! But the first step is to own it! Of course, if you have made a true profession of faith in Christ then you are justifed before God, but when it comes to the sins in you life, are you convicted by them as a roadblock to a closer relationship with Him? Do you see your sin as a reason why Christ came to die? Do you see it as proof of your inability to save youself? John says if we don’t, we are kidding ourselves and are not living in the truth.
Sign #3: Do you walk in the light?
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1.5-7 (NLT)
It’s a simple logical question, can darkness exist in light? It’s like asking if fat can be in a fat-free food. They are mutually exclusive properties. Darkness, by nature and definition, cannot exist in light. So what is John telling us? Is he saying we are to be perfect? I don’t believe so. I believe John is telling us that believers are called to be in the light, not as perfect sinless beings, but as sinful men and women who recognize the fact that we are sinful and cling to the Light that makes us white as snow. This is a call to transparency, openness, and accountability before God and His people. John makes it clear that being in the light doesn’t mean cleaning yourself up before you can step out from the darkness, rather, being in the light is knowing that you can’t ever clean yourself up enough before coming to Christ. The first step to forgiveness is stepping out into the light away from darkness. So the next question to consider is, do you walk in the light or just say you do? One is a reality while is other is a fantasy. A believer walks in the holy light of God, recognizing their sin and inability to save themselves, and is trusting in Christ to cleanse them. This is sometimes a scary thought. Walking in light means you are exposed and vulnerable. But what a freedom it is to walk in the light and trust in Christ! What a joy it is to know that everything is out and that the Holy Spirit is working in and through you to mold you to the pattern of Christ! There is no other way to see true joy and change in ones life than choosing to live in the light!
So again, these questions must be considered. Do you believe the facts? Jesus died, rose again, ascended into heaven to return again and in the meantime has saved us and called us to a life of holiness through the Spirit. Are you convicted by your sin? Our sin is a barrier to fellowship with God and one another. Our sin gives us proof of our inability to save ourselves and stand justified before God apart from the righteousness of Christ. Are you walking in the light? Walking in the light is living a life of transparency, being open about the work of the Spirit in you yet knowing that you can’t do it on your own. It’s being open with brothers and sisters about the good stuff and the junk that going on. It’s a call to true community in Christ with others who walk in the light. I pray that your family will sit down and go over these questions this week. Take some time as a family and go over 1 John 1 and consider these questions. If we can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then the rest of this doesn’t matter. We must start here if we wish to go further! Take care this week and have a great week in the Lord!
Only by His Grace,