Sunday, July 12, 2009

7/13 Walking in the Light

(xray image of the sun)

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete. 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. (I John 1:3-7)

Calvin’s commentary abridged: 1:3: The writer now repeats a third time “seen and heard” so that we understand how certain his doctrine is. Christ’s preachers were willing and faithful witnesses to their good. We are ungrateful if we are not willing to listen to such a witness to their happiness. He also tells us that the fruit of the gospel is the unity with Christ and he wishes all who believe to be one in him. The ungodly have a fellowship too in which they alienate themselves from God- which is the worst of all evils.
1:4: “That your joy may be full” our real happiness is found in the Gospel. Our affections are to be fixed on fellowship with God (“where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”- Mt. 6:21), and does not burn with desire for other things.
1:5: “This then is the message” A good translation would be “this is the annunciation” ejpaggeli>a means promise.
He calls God light and says that he is in the light. This is to be taken metaphorically. Satan is the prince of darkness. God is pure, bright, unalloyed. He has no spots of filth, no hypocrisy or fraud. As long as we walk in darkness we are separated from God. No darkness belongs to God. He therefore hates an evil conscience, pollution, and wickedness and all darkness.
1:6: God sanctifies all who are his and dissipates darkness, kindling in us the light of God. The power of this fellowship with God shines in our life. “and do not the truth” means “do not do what is true and right.”
1:7: The proof of our union with God is made evident when his purity shines through us. Whenever God comes and his holiness effects all things, all filth and sin is washed away. Without him we have nothing but filth and darkness.
“we have fellowship with one another” this is not just talking about fellowship among believers, but also fellowship with God. How can we who are impure have fellowship with the pure God? God accommodates himself to our capacities here so that he is said to be like God who aspires to his likeness and is ruled by the fear of God- however distant from it he may yet be. The integrity of the conscience is alone what distinguishes light from darkness.
“and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin”- means that when we do what is right and just – turning to Christ we are forgiven. If we do not turn away from our sin, there is no forgiveness. Remission of sins can’t be separated from repentance. Nor can the peace of God be in those hearts where the fear of God does not prevail. This forgiveness is not a one-time event, but a perpetual blessing in the Church that is daily offered to the faithful. “from all sin” means no sin can prevent God’s favor. Because of Christ’s blood we are made clean. The faithful know they are accepted by God because of the death of Christ. His sacrifice includes cleansing and satisfaction.

Calvin is saying here that our great joy is fellowship with God and with other believers. This happens because Jesus has sacrificed himself for our sins. We must in response, turn away from our sins, and turn toward fellowship with God.

Prayer: Thank you for the fellowship that is ours, O Lord because of the blood of Jesus. Give us strength to walk in your light today.

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