walk in the word
6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But 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.8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:6-9
Fellowship requires honesty. When there is pretense and play-acting there can be no genuine fellowship. John begins his first letter with such a good picture of this truth about the nature of fellowship. People who can’t or won’t be honest with each other are people who will never experience the kind of nurturing fellowship that God desires among His people.
I John 1:6 says, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Calling it fellowship doesn’t make it so. And we mock God’s character and power if we claim to be intimate with Him but our lives are a mess. When God’s around, the lights are on! Walking in the darkness means we may bump into each other, but we won’t have fellowship.
“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” (v.7). When we see ourselves and one another clearly under God’s clarifying and purifying light, we are in position to appreciate each other, observe the cleansing work Jesus performs in one another’s lives, and experience the common ground that creates fellowship.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (vs.8-9). If we pretend we have no sin, we will tend to magnify the sin in other’s lives and won’t want to have fellowship with them. But claiming sinlessness is perhaps the worst form a denial a person can practice. It takes others about two minutes to see our claim is false—then they won’t want to have fellowship with us!
John is pointing to the heart of authenticity in these verses. Authenticity requires honesty—not putting on a mask; not coming to church and acting okay when I’m not; weeping with those who weep; rejoicing with those who rejoice; bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. God forbid that our churches would ever become a place of pretense and mask-wearing and acting like I’m fine when I’m not.
Genuine fellowship requires honesty.
Prayer: Almighty Father, first, help me not to fool myself. Put Your finger on the places in my life that are infected with pretense and false conclusions. Help me to be genuine in confessing my sins—the ones I can see as well as the ones I can’t see. Lead me to others who want to live transparently, and allow us to experience the remarkable fellowship of Your presence together. In Jesus name, Amen.
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