“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)
This week’s epistle reading is from John’s first letter. One of the aims that John has in this letter is that Christians not sin. To that end he distinguishes between a lifestyle that continually ignores or condones sin versus a life that hates and seeks to overcome it. Sin in one’s life often indicates that a person may not be saved if it is characteristic of that one’s whole lifestyle and if that person does not feel remorse or sorrow and does not see the need to seek God’s help and mercy. Those who are saved who sin are convicted by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, feel shame and guilt which leads to confession and repentance.
John asserts that there is no middle ground between darkness and light. The Christian cannot love the world and live according to its dictates and at the same time love God. When John speaks of the world, he does not mean the people of the world. We do not hate them. We are to hate the system of the world, the kingdom of Satan. He uses the fleshly desires, selfish pride and independence that characterize all human beings to tempt them to sin.
God’s definition of sin does not change because of man’s changing values. The Christian should have a different attitude, to seek to live according to the example of Jesus, to be humble, loving and unselfish. Thus those who preach self-help, self-glorification, self-sufficiency and the pursuit of wealth preach another gospel. These are to be shunned and refuted. Only those who admit they are sinners and hate their sins come under the blood of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.