1 John 1:7
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 cleanses us from all sin.
This statement of John is the contrast to the previous verse, where John says we cannot say we follow Jesus and walk in darkness. He says “but if”, giving the opposite response. What is this opposite response? “We walk in the light, as he is in the light”.
In is an interesting word here. it is positional, conditional as well as relational. Help says in is defined as follows:
1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).
This is followed by a verb as. As is used in this sense for illustration purposes; “As he is in the light.” Jesus is our example. We are to walk in the light as He is in the light. Light again is that condition that we have sight, understanding, we have illumination.
In Genesis 1:3-4, God as part of creation deemed light as good; “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” He further adds to the order of creation in Genesis 1:14-19,
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
In both these places, God is said to have seen it was good. He saw that the light was good and that the order was good as well. This is not a response were He saw that it was good after He did it, this was a declaration where God is showing us something about creation, and the intention of His creation. It is him giving us light to understand.
John talks further about light in his gospel:
John 1:4-5 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:7-9 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
John 3:19-21 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
John 11:9-10 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
John 12:35-36 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
John 12:46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Jesus walked in understanding and gives us understanding. He is understanding.
John now gives addition to this concept of light that he has built upon and adds to it, stating further in verse 9, “and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin”. And is a conjunction that connects words or ideas as transitions. So the idea is that light and the blood Christ, though separate matters, are in fact connected. As light gives an understanding so the blood of Christ cleanses. Light gives fact to our sinful condition and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all of our sin.
Cleanses is the Greek word katharizó, which means to make pure or to remove all filth. Again this is in regards to moral sense. We are descendants of a fallen Adam, and our relationship to God is restored through Christ. Light gives us understanding of our condition and the blood Christ cleanses us from our condition, which is sin.
Strong’s defines sin or hamartia as failure or missing the mark. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon further explains sin as properly failure to miss the mark, in greek writings first as an error in the understanding and second a bad action or evil deed. In the New Testament this is always in an ethical sense.
What is it that cleanses us? The blood of Christ.
Observation: John wants us to “see” or “understand” our condition, and more so, the solution to our condition. He is building the argument for who Jesus is, and why He came. In the Old Testament, God gave light or understanding to His people, that they are sinful and He instituted a sacrificial system where they could be restored. In Christ, we were not only given light, but the light of men; Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. It is the culmination of the sacrificial system. Jesus once and for all removed sin from God’s people with His shed blood upon the cross. Jesus, whom John confessed to be one with God in his Gospel, was given to us and came to us. Jesus came into the world and was given to us by the Father. He simultaneously existed with God, and entered into our physical world. Doing so to remove all sin from His people. This is the truth that John wants us to see.
Father, thank you for showing us filth, for showing us our sin, for showing us the solution. How we can be restored to You. You give us understanding so we may have fellowship with You and one another. That our relationship may be restored. Praise be to You, forever and ever. In Jesus name, amen.
God bless you,