Living in Truth by admitting we have done wrong

Today’s verse is 1 John 1:7.

 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

What does it mean to live in the light “as God is in the light”? A long time ago I listened to a message by our youth pastor at the time, John Ulrich, who spoke about what “light” is. Light is such a powerful metaphor. It can be used for so many different concepts, but generally when the Bible refers to light, it’s using the term as a symbol for Truth.

Light reveals things. Light shows things that want to stay hidden. Light opens the eyes of blind people so that they can see what is real and what isn’t. Truth does the same thing, so I think it’s an apt comparison.

So with that understanding, the verse is saying that we need to live in Truth as God is in Truth. Well . . . God is Truth. There’s no separation there. So does that mean we need to live in God?

Instead of me fumbling around trying to understand this single verse, I’m going to put the whole section up, starting with 1 John 1:5.

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

Amazing how adding a few extra verses in there clears it up, isn’t it? It’s always best to let the Bible interpret itself.

God is light (God is Truth). There’s nothing bad in Him. But there are people in the world who call themselves Christians who are living in spiritual darkness. They don’t read the Bible. They don’t understand what it means to follow Christ. They either believe in a religion or they follow a man’s teaching. They have no interest in pursuing God’s truth because they are perfectly satisfied with what the world has pawned off as truth.

These verses say that those people who say they are Christians but continue to live a life that isn’t guided by Truth–by God and by the Bible–are lying. That’s kind of heavy.

But aren’t we saved by faith? Doesn’t the Bible say elsewhere that our works have nothing to do with our salvation?

That’s true. But in James, the Bible tells us that our works demonstrate the presence of our faith. It’s not our actions that save us (our by that same token our inaction that condemns us); our actions are an outward representation of an invisible change that has taken place inside our hearts.

So if someone claims to be a Christian but doesn’t follow Christ and has no interest in studying the Bible and feels no desire to learn more about God . . . . think about it.

But the main verse for today isn’t about identifying “real” Christians. Honestly, that’s not even our job. We aren’t supposed to go around deciding whether someone is saved or not. That’s not our business. That’s not our job. And we can’t do it anyway because we can’t see peoples’ hearts. The only person I am responsible for is myself . . .  Maybe if I can ever get myself under control I can move on to helping other people control themselves, but the chances of me ever achieving that one are fair to partly cloudy.

What 1 John 1:7 says to me this morning is that if I live my life by God’s Truth — that if I act and live and breathe and move based according to the principles in the Bible — I will have true, unbroken fellowship with other Christians who are living the same way. And what’s more, a life lived according to God’s Truth will keep me from sinning.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross saved me from sin, but by living a life based in God’s Truth, I will have the strength and the weapons I need to keep myself from doing the things that hurt me and my walk with Christ.

And I guess all this leads up to the question of how do we live a life of Truth? Like I said, you need to apply biblical principles in your life. The biggest of which comes in this same chapter, starting in verse 8.

 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Everybody sins. And by refusing to acknowledge that I sin, I’m lying to myself and I’m calling God a liar.

I am a sinner. That’s the truth.

God is just. That’s the truth.

God justifies the ungodly through Jesus Christ, and all we have to do is ask. That is truth.

The best way to live in Truth is to tell God what I have done wrong and trust Him to forgive me. That is Truth. And I need to keep doing that on a daily basis because I do wrong every day, every moment of every day, and by continually confessing my sins to God it keeps my perspective true. It makes me remember that I am not responsible for my salvation. It’s through Christ alone.