1:7 Walk is possible and necessary Walk like Him is necessary
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we really have met God, then what John simply explains is that we will walk like God. We will see the glory of living according to His standards. We will see that honor of loving one another just as Jesus has lived it out before us. Confession of Christ only is significant if we see a change in our lives. It is in these cases we can be fully assured of the blood of Jesus His son to cleanse us from all sin. ‘Assurance of salvation’ is to encourage the believer to keep on believing but never to further the delusion the unbeliever that he is a Christian. Now remember it does not say we are perfect. We still have need for forgiveness. In fact, even here we see the special provision of God for those who have discovered their sin before God.
The difference with these people is not that they have not sinned but that they have discovered their sins. In a real way, the best evidence that a person has come to God is by seeing that they are repentant. They do not only say that they have sin but turn from that behavior. They see their sin in all of its horribleness. This is the true church of God. This is the koinonia fellowship. Their common link is having met God in His holiness, found forgiveness through Jesus’ blood (we will discuss this more shortly) and walk in a way that reflects God’s own holiness.
Application: So are you a genuine Christian? Ask yourself these three questions: Have you at a point in your life have met God in such a way that your became disgusted with your sins and that you found Jesus as the place to find forgiveness? Notice it is not enough to have met or experienced God but never changed your lifestyle. That was not God. God is light. When we are in the dark and walk into a light room, our eyes all of a sudden could see many things they otherwise couldn’t see. Notice it is not enough if you only find yourself remorseful over your sins but never really change. That is not real repentance. Genuine repentance comes from a new hatred over your old lifestyle. Notice lastly that it also means that you do not try to find all these other ways to comfort your awareness of sin. You go to church, donate a lot, help out others. These are totally inadequate. They never make you right with God. The only way to find forgiveness is through Jesus Christ. John amplifies this a bit in 1:9.
1:9 Confession & repentance from sin
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John includes one other aspect of those that are part of God’s fellowship through Jesus. It might seem strange but it is very important. We know how to confess our sins. Now this might seem contradictory to what he has just said but it is not. The point is not whether we slip or fall. We will at times fail God and others. The point is whether we hate sin enough to turn from the sin, confess it and strive to please the Lord. These people will see their sin and regret it. They will repent from it. They will seek God’s covering. They know of God’s light and know they need shielding. They hide in Christ and are found free from their sin.
One aspect of repentance is confession. Repentance describes the change of heart having met God. Confession is an action that comes from that new heart. It is not to a priest or even to a counselor. The confession is to God through Christ. There are two kinds of confession: Confession that leads to salvation and confession that leads to sanctification. The first confession brings about a new relationship between God and man. The second kind of confession renews our relationship with God. It is like what happens when you offend someone. After a while, you discern that you made a mistake. You go to that person and apologize and ask for forgiveness. Although the context does lean to confession when one becomes a Christian, we should realize that it is okay to use this verse to speak about restoring our relationship with God. The truth is the same.
Are you aware of your sin? If not, then you don’t know God.
How do you handle your sin? If you try to act like you are better than you are, then you do not know God.
But if you see the Lord’s holiness, then you will be very aware of your sins. You will seek forgiveness. You will turn away from the darkness in your life. You will seek God’s provision of Christ. You will begin to treasure Jesus more and more. You will be proud of Him and thankful for dying on the cross for your sins. Confession of your sins will be part of your life.
But now let us turn and summarize everything in this third point. You might wonder if you are truly a Christian? Or maybe you are new to all this and wonder if such a wonderful fellowship is real? You just might be one of those who are trying to break out of a wrong concept of God. You have been a relativist but now realize God is light. You sense you need cleansing. Let us listen to this great apostle tenderly summarize all our questions with a few words. It is amazing how he does this.