Let Us Walk in the Light of God | Short Sermon Series
First of all, verse 5 (of 1 John 1): “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” What does John mean that God is light?
One answer would be that God is truth This comes from verse 6: “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.” He might have said, “When we walk in darkness, we do not live according to the light.” But he puts truth in the place of light. So it seems that truth is virtually the same as light. (See also 1 John 5:20.)
In other words, God is light means that God is the source and measure of all that is true. Another way to put it would be that nothing is truly understood until it is understood in the light of God. This is why the Old Testament says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). You don’t even get to first base in true knowledge if you leave God out of account. Which is why secular education is such a mirage of hope in the contemporary wasteland of our culture. God is light. That is, God is truth. He is the source of all that is true and whatever is true is true because it conforms to him.
What does it mean to walk in the darkness? When you walk in darkness, you are controlled by the desires for the soft, warm underbellies of prestige and power and two-second pleasures (see James 4:14). This is the very opposite of what it means to have fellowship with God. Fellowship with God means that you see things the way he sees them and have the same desires he has. If we are controlled by desires for the world instead of desires for God, it doesn’t matter whether we say we have fellowship with God or not; we don’t have it. Instead we walk in darkness. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness we lie and do not live according to the truth.”
Walking in the light does not mean perfection, for then verse 7 (of 1 John 1) would make no sense at all — “if we walk in the light, we are cleansed from sin!” If walking in the light meant perfection, there would be no need for cleansing. Besides, verse 8 warns against claiming to be sinless while you walk in the light.
Walking in the light means seeing things the way God sees them and responding the way he does. We walk in the light when we hate the sin we fall into and name it for the ugly thing it is and agree with God about it and turn from it. So confessing sin is a crucial part of walking in the light. And verse 9 makes forgiveness of sin dependent on walking in the light. Therefore we are warranted in taking the cleansing of verse 7 to refer to forgiveness and not just to sanctification.
Sermon Article adapted from "Let Us Walk in the Light of God" desiringgod.org @desiringgod