by Spiros ZodhiatesWalking in the Light-Part 3
Walking in the Light-Part 3
Editor's note: This is part three of a four-part exposition of 1 John 1:5-8.
"If we, however, are walking in the light, as He is in the light, we are having fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, keeps on cleansing us from all sin" (1 John 1:7 a.t.).
Again the suppositional conjunction eán, if, is used as in verse 6, which indicates that the subject matter is real and practical. There are those who will walk in the light, which is Christ (John 8:12), because they have Him within them (Rom. 8:10). We cannot simultaneously be both in the light (Christ) and in darkness (skótos), even as from one fountain there cannot come both sweet and bitter water (James 3:11).
A sure sign of being in the light is the recognition and fellowship of others who are also in the light, that is, fellow believers. The company one chooses reveals his character.
"With one another" is met' alleâlon (from metá, with, implying accompaniment but differing from sún, which implies conjoining. Alleâlon, each other, related to állos, another of the same kind as contrasted to héteros, another of a different kind). Thus it is with one another of the same kind, or other believers, that we must fellowship, evidencing that we have fellowship with God. There is a spiritual aura about believers which makes them recognizable by other believers. They form a fellowship (koinonía) which, next to their salvation, is one of their most precious possessions.
In this fellowship, however, none is sinless. The blood of Christ, which washed us clean initially (Rev. 1:5), continuously cleanses us from each and every sin. There is no sin in the life of a believer which the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse.
But John draws the definite distinction between "walking in the darkness," a voluntary sinful lifestyle, or being in the flesh of Rom. 8:6-11, and the falling into any sin from which the believer seeks forgiveness in confession and repentance. The emphasis here is not on what the blood of Christ has already accomplished for us as believers, but on its nature to cleanse us at all times.
The blood of Jesus was shed once for all. It is not to be repeated (Heb. 6:4-6; 9:26). But the blood of Christ not only removes sin by excising it, it cleanses the wound created by its removal. The cleansed sinner remains without a scar in God's sight. That cleansing operation is a continuous cleansing.
The verb katharízo, to cleanse, is more thorough than the verb aphíemi, to forgive, remove. Removing a tumor is necessary, but the condition in which the patient is left is of utmost importance. When Jesus Christ excises the cancer of sin through the shedding of His blood, He leaves us clean-that is, acceptable to God and fit for placement in His body, the church.
Observe how the blood that cleanses is designated: "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son." It was not the blood of just an ordinary man, but of Jesus, who was indeed the incarnate God of history. There is the historical incarnation and crucifixion, but there is also the eternal effect of what God did in the historical context. There is no chronological restriction to its cleansing power.
1. It is possible to walk victoriously in our Christian life. Since Christ is in the light, we can be in it too, in spite of the fact that we cannot escape the consequences of sin. We are victorious over skótos, darkness, although we cannot here and now escape skotía, the effects of darkness, until our future redemption (Rom. 8:23).
2. While we live in a sinful environment and heritage, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin, heals us, and removes the scars.
From The Epistles of John, (1994), AMG Publishers.