This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Light vs darkness. Sin vs cleansing. These tense contrasts are an ongoing reality.
Centuries after the Apostle John wrote the above passage, St. Augustine would state: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Later yet, Blaise Pascal said that there is in the human heart an “infinite abyss (that) can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
What we yearn for is to have fellowship with the Lord. We desire peace in his presence. We want to walk in relationship with him, just as did Adam and Eve in the Garden before sin intruded and broke the connection.
But there is this ongoing tension. Light vs darkness. Sin vs cleansing.
Indeed, darkness and sin join hands together – they conspire to keep us separated from God. Like Adam and Eve after the Fall, our lives are shrouded in sin, with the result that we walk in darkness. The longing for God that is built into our hearts cannot be fulfilled, for: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
Not only so, but darkness joins hands with lies and deception. It cuts us off from truth. “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth … If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
What we desperately need is a release from darkness, so that instead we can “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” We need to step fully into truth. Wouldn’t that be good – oh, so good! The Apostle John seems to think it possible. But how?
Only if sin is met with cleansing. If it could be washed away, we could step out of darkness into light. We need that washing – we need that cleansing.
Here it is: “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin … If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
I love this concept of cleansing. The word that John uses (“purify”) is one that appears often in the New Testament. It’s the word we looked at last week when the leper fell at Jesus’ feet and cried out, “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mark 1:40), being answered by Jesus’ own words: “I am willing … be clean!” (Mark 1:40-41). It’s the word used by the Sovereign Lord as he showed Peter the sheet descending from heaven and declared, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15). It’s the same root word used by Peter when he warns us not to forget that we “have been cleansed from … past sins” (2 Peter 1:9).
So, allow Jesus to resolve the tensions. Step out of darkness into light. Move from deception to truth. Allow your sin to be dissolved into cleansing by the power of our Lord’s own blood. And be fully and truly embraced into the fellowship of God himself.
Lord, I stand in the light and acknowledge the truth: I have sinned; there is no question. I need cleansing. I need release from darkness.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your blood purifies me from all sin. Thank you that when I stumble, I don’t have to stay in the dark, but can freely confess it, receiving again your cleansing work – your full forgiveness. Thank you. Praise your name.
Take time to give thanks for the full forgiveness you have received in Jesus’ name. Then reflect: is there any sin that remains un-named and unconfessed before your Lord? If so, confess it and receive that cleansing afresh.
Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash