1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it , and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
5 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.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 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.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Sometimes we get so caught up in all the dynamic stories contained in the bible and all the theology and doctrine, that it’s easy to forget that the root of the gospel was a very simple message. The early church that we read about in the book of Acts didn’t even have a bible. They may have cracked out the Torah on occasion to help better explain who Jesus was in the grand scheme of history, but the message that grew the early church, the message that so many longed to hear and through which became completely devoted followers was a simple story conveyed by simple men. The creator of all things came to live with man, teach him the truth about their existence and ultimately die to redeem man, giving men a path to eternal life based on faith of this great act of the creator through Jesus Christ. To a theologian that may seem like an over simplification, but think upon how simple but how powerful that statement is. What I love about John is that he sees the world in a big picture way. There were micro-manager apostles and documentary style apostles, but John seems to always phrase and encapsulate his books in the view of eternity.
The thing that stands out to me the most in this chapter the use of light. If you are standing in the light, the darkness can’t creep up on you. To find yourself in darkness is to have left the light. The neat thing about this verse is it also clarifies that although our goal is to walk in the light as he is, we will still have sin. I had been told when I was young that real Christians don’t sin. This is so far from the truth. In fact, as Christians we more aware of our sin. Sin just means missing the mark of righteousness. As unbelievers we didn’t even know where the target was, so even if we attempted to be “good” we were shooting in the dark. Having Jesus’s words of guidance we know the direction we should go, but we still miss the mark. But as we grow closer to God and Godliness we become more and more focused on the target and work harder to strive for the center of God’s will and although we grow closer and closer the curve is exponential and we don’t reach it. It is only by the grace of Jesus and our confession that we are not righteous on our own and have missed the mark.
So if you find yourself in the dark, don’t ask God where he went. You can only face the darkness by looking away from the light. John isn’t even condemning existence in the darkness, just be honest about where you are and how you got there. When we lie to others, we lie to God and to ourselves. How can we escape the trap we have fallen into when we won’t acknowledge that we are there and in need help. Honesty is the first step towards salvation. In all things, being honest is the key to moving forward. This is our salvation we are working out here, why would you put your honor among men above the health of your eternal soul.