Hello! Today, we’ll be reading from 1 John 1:5-10 and seeing what else we can take away from 1 John, chapter 1. 

First things first: today we’ll finally dive into some of the themes that I pointed out in my last blog post called “We can know Jesus (1 John 1:1-4)”. Most notably, we can see the importance of obeying God and following his commands, and how that connects with being in Christ. Once again, I’ll be assuming you have read the passage prior, or at least hoping that you’ll follow along as I go!

1 John 1:5-10

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

A call to obey God

The themes of obeying God/following his commands show up in two places: first in verses 6-7, and again in 8-10.

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)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. (1 John 5:8-10)

Both follow a pattern, in which the author starts with a claim, points out the flaw of such a claim, offers a corrected claim, and through it, demonstrates how such claims can show where our allegiances lie. 

The first claim appears in verse 6: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” To understand this a bit better, we’ll also need to look at verse 5: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” The author puts two simple ideas together. One, because God is light, there is no darkness in him. Two, if we are with God and in fellowship in him, neither can we walk in darkness, because that would contradict the previous statement. Therefore, “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,” then it’s one of two things: either we claim that God has darkness in him, or we are liars and are not walking the paths we are supposed to. Then, he offers the contrary in verse 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, purifies us from all sin.” Verse 6 presents a flawed claim, while verse 7 offers a corrected one. And what is the result of following such a path? We will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin (v. 7). 

A similar pattern appears in verses 8-10, where there’s a flawed claim (v. 8, 10) and a corrected claim (v. 9). This time though, it involves that claim that we are without sin. Such a claim not only deceives ourselves and makes God a liar, but shows that his word (the truth of who he is) is not in us (v. 10). What’s the contrary though? That if we confess our sins, he will not only forgive us but purify us from all unrighteousness (v. 9).

Are we in the light? Or in the darkness?

Both of these claims act as calls to examine ourselves to see where our allegiances lie. Do we walk in the darkness? Or the light? Because only one of those allows us to have fellowship with one another and the purifying blood of Jesus. Do we claim to be without sin? Or do we confess them before God? Because only one of those paths leads to forgiveness and purification from unrighteousness. 

And if we find our allegiances are misaligned? Well, 1 John tells us exactly what to do. We are to confess our sins to God and receive his forgiveness and purification from our sin. Stay tuned for my next post on 1 John 2, where we’ll dive deeper into some of the themes we’ve established! 

Read more posts in Jason’s 1 John Series. 

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About the Author

Jason Cheong

Jason is a third-year economics student involved at P2C-S at UofT. While he’s not slacking off and distracting others to also slack off, he enjoys video games, eating out with his friends, reading the Bible, and making blog posts about them.

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