The more I read from the apostle John, the more I am truly terrified of meeting him in heaven. The groundbreaking wisdom he offers in a matter of sentences, the mind bending truth he reveals throughout his writings, the difficult conviction he brings forth as a result of his revelations…I imagine a sit down conversation with him will go about as comfortably as reading the first three chapters of 1 John.
These first three chapters of 1 John are overflowing with hard truth and undeniable conviction. In my humble opinion, this book is where sugarcoating goes to die. Chapter after chapter, verse after verse, John openly and plainly goes about laying down the truth of the Gospel and it’s meaning for believers. He calls out deception, sin, and poor Christian living. He makes clear the type of life and heart we as believers are called to have. And quite frankly, his words are not only needed but are vitally necessary for today’s church and body of believers.
Three separate times, John uses a juxtaposition type sentence structure to call out believers who are living anything but Christ-centered lives.
“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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.” ~1 John 1:6-7
“Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” ~1 John 1:4-6
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” ~1 John 2:9-10
John makes evident within these verses that those who walk in darkness, those who do not know the commands of Christ, and those who hate their brothers and sisters…these people do not live in truth, they do not live in Christ.
And in comparison, John makes clear that those who walk in the light, those who obey Christ’s words, those who love their brothers and sisters…these people are purified from sin, the love of God is complete in them, there is nothing that could cause them to stumble — they truly live in Christ.
In our day and age, we love the grey area. We like to find loopholes or “what-ifs” in God’s word so we can be content and satisfied with however we have chosen to live our lives. However, within these three passages of 1 John, no grey area exists. There is simply light and darkness, deception and truth, in Christ and outside of Christ. And I dare say that many current professing believers, possibly some reading these very words, are in desperate need of evaluating where they stand in this black and white truth of the Gospel.
Do we simply claim to live in the light of Christ, yet in reality are plagued with the darkness of doubt, legalism, self-indulgence, or pride?
Do we boldly declare to know Christ as our Lord and Savior, yet within our hearts know little to nothing of who He is, what He taught, or what He commands of us?
Do we affirm ourselves as living in truth, yet hold grudges, anger, and judgmental hearts toward our neighbors?
If 1 John is clear on anything it is this: in the life of the believer, in the heart of one born of God, there is no room for both. Light and darkness cannot exist together.
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” ~1 John 3:9-10
None of this is to say that we will never sin again, nor upon being saved will we be free from temptation and trial.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” ~1 John 1:8
However, if we are truly born of God, if we are truly his children living in truth and in light, we will be free from the sinful lifestyle reflected in the darkness and in deception. While we may waver in Christ’s righteous ways, this will not be compatible with who we are in Christ.
We will cease to be run by sin, but rather we will run toward the light. We will cease to be crippled by deception, and rather bask in the truth of Christ. We will no longer be marked as children of the devil (that’s intense), but will be marked with the blood of the lamb. Our lives will be more than talk, more than the words we say. Instead, we will truly live our lives as children of God.
Here’s a powerful song to lead you in your personal time with the Lord.