To understand what John is telling us in 1John 1:5 – 7 we need to remember what happened in Genesis 3. There spiritual darkness entered the world. There false concepts about God entered the world. There sin entered the world. There separation from God and from each other entered the world. There condemnation and judgement entered the world. There death entered the world.

God’s warning – ‘when you eat of it you will surely die’ (Genesis 2:17) was fulfilled.

Satan’s twisted suggestion that ‘knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5) was a desirable thing, proved to be false. It was not a thing of light and understanding, as he inferred, but a thing of darkness, ignorance and bondage.

This darkness, this ignorance of God, this separation from God, is the default position of every human being.

Jesus Christ came to reverse and overturn the spiritual impacts of Genesis 3. (The physical impacts will be reversed at his second coming.)

Here in Jesus Christ we understand who God actually is – not the corrupt, distorted, diminished ‘god’ concepts that proliferate around the world as a result of Satan’s original deception – but the real God, the true God. Here in Jesus Christ we realise that Satan’s insinuations about God were lies and always are lies. As Jesus said of Satan ‘there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8:44).

To know Jesus Christ is to know God. Here, following Jesus Christ and the truth he taught:

We no longer walk in darkness – John 8:12.
We no longer live in darkness – John 12:46.
We have been turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God – Acts 26:18.
We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness – Colossians 1:13.
We are no longer in the darkness nor belong to the darkness – 1Thessalonians 5:4,5.
We have been called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light – 1Peter 2:9.

This is true of every genuine follower of Jesus Christ.

And it is here that John states the first and second of several conditions by which to assess the integrity of our claim to believe in and be followers of Jesus Christ:

‘If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth’ – 1:6.

‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another ...’ – 1:7.

There are things that go together:

Having fellowship with Jesus Christ; living by the truth; walking in the light; having fellowship with each other.

‘Walking in the darkness’ simply does not fit in that picture. As seen above, those who believe in Jesus Christ have been set free from the darkness.

What is this ‘walking in the darkness’ that exposes the claim to believe in Christ as false?

It is an on-going, habitual way of life – indicated by the Present Tense in the original Greek text.

It is living as though we are still ignorant of God.

It is living as though we are still under the authority of Satan and darkness.

It is living as though we have not been reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus, but are still under his wrath and condemnation because of our sins.

It is living as though we have not been united to each other through our common faith in Jesus Christ.

It is living as though Jesus Christ has not undone the spiritual impacts of Genesis 3.

Those who walk in the light of Christ, those who live by the truth revealed in Christ, know that that separation from God that began in Genesis 3, and that condemnation that began in Genesis 3, have been removed forever. They live daily with the liberating truth that the ‘blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin’ (1:7).

John here challenges us to make sure that our claim to believe in Jesus is reflected in the way we live our lives. Are we living as if what we say we believe actually is true? Or are we living as if we are still held captive in the darkness? Are we living with God in peace and joy? Or are we living as though our sin still has the power to alienate us from God? (We will look further at this final question next week.)

©Rosemary Bardsley 2021