Walk in the Light

2Studies in First John

Walk In the Light

1 Jn. 1:5-2:2




1.  The theme of light and darkness was prominent in the ancient world.

     a.  The people of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, contrasted the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.  

     b.  Today, Israel’s Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is designed to 

           symbolize “The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.”

2.  Such themes are evident in Scripture, not only in the texts of John, but also in the language of Jesus and Paul.  These images are also evident in the O.T.  Ex. The temple had its golden lampstand.

3.  What do these images mean?  How are they relevant to us?  What does John want us to understand and do considering what he says here in this text?




I.  “This is the message:  God is Light” (5).


     A.  Since the beginning when God said, “Let there be light,” light has been a symbol for God.

           1.  God revealed Himself in fire and light.

                 a.  A pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day guided Israel in the wilderness.

                 b.  Psa. 104:2 says that God is clothed in light.

                 c.  1 Tim. 6:16 says that Jesus dwells in unapproachable light, the only Sovereign, King of kings and Lord of lords.”

           2.  God’s light is associated with revelation and salvation.

                 a.  Revelation (reveal-ation) involves illumination and insight into things lost in the darkness without the light of God.

                 b.  Psa. 22:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”

                 c.  Psa. 36:9 associates life and light:  “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.”

                 d.  Psa. 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

                 e.  Isa. 49:6 refers to God’s Servant:  “I will make You a light to the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

     B.  “In Him is no darkness at all.”  This restates in the negative what he said when he said,  “God is Light.”

            1.  There are no graduations of Light in the Lord.

            2.  There is no grey!  No dusk!  Just as Jesus is the Light of men and shines in the darkness, the darkness does not overpower the Light (Jn. 1:4-5).  Instead, the Light overpowers the darkness.

     C.  This is the message heard and announced to you!

            God  --  to us  -- to you


II.  Fellowship with Him is NOT compatible with walking in darkness and sin (v. 6-10).


     A.  Already we are introduced to a moral implication of fellowship with Him.  It is NOT possible to have fellowship with God and yet live in sin. Cf. 1 Thess. 5:4-10.

     B.  “Walking in the Light” of what is revealed has powerful implications (7).

           1.  Fellowship with one another.  Christians who cut themselves off from fellowship with other Christians are not walking in the light.  When walking in the light we have fellowship with God and with other Christians.

           2.  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sinwhen we walk in the light of God’s illumination.

           3.  A recognition of sin.  To say that we have no sin involves self-deception and an absence of the truth in us.  It makes Him a liar and His word is not in us (cf. Rom. 3:19-20; Rom. 7:7ff; Gal. 3:19ff).  

          4.  Confession.  Confession goes beyond a mere recognition of sin.  It involves humility and an acceptance of responsibility.  It reflects an appropriate attitude 

                toward sin.  Confession stands in contrast to saying, “We have no sin.”

          5.  Forgiveness and cleansing.

          6.  Living by God’s light involves all these things.

   C.   Some perceive walking in the light and walking in the darkness as an in and out kind of thing.  Their idea is that with each sin a Christian stopswalking in the light and begins walking in darkness.  With each confession of a particular sin, one begins again to walk in the light.  In this perception one moves constantly between light and darkness.  But I would ask one question, “Where is the one who is cleansed by the 

          blood of Jesus, walking in the light or in the darkness?”  

          1.  The one who is walking in the light is the one cleansed by the blood of Jesus!  Cleansing is provided in the light.

          2.  Walking in darkness does not provide fellowship, nor cleansing.

          3.  It is the one walking in the light that recognizes sin and confesses it.

          4.  To live in the darkness means to live without the benefit of divine illumination and so to live in sin, outside of fellowship with God’s people, and without the blood of Christ for cleansing.  

          5.  To walk in the light is to live according to the illumination given by God’s revelation, to be in fellowship with God’s people and to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus.  

                This involves the on-going confession of sin and the on-going reception of forgiveness.


III.  John says his purpose in writing is that we not sin, but if we do we have an Advocate who is the propitiation for our sins (2:1-2).


      A.  There are two words critical to our understanding here.

            1.  Advocate.

            2.  Propitiation.

     B.  Advocate is from the word “parakl?tos.”

           1.  It is a word that means literally “to call to one’s side.”

           2.  “In the Greek writers it was used of a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one 

                 who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another” 


          3.  In our context we could think of a defense attorney.  He is called to our side as our

                advocate to plead our case.

          4.  There is an illustration of this in Zech. 3.

                a.  Joshua the high priest was standing before the angel of the Lord.

                b.  Satan was standing at his right hand to accuse him.  Satan is the accuser.  He is 

                      like the District Attorney.  He is there to bring charges against Joshua.

                c.  Joshua is clothed with filthy garments signifying the guilt of his sin.

                d.  But the Lord says, “Remove the filty garments.  I have taken away your iniquity 

                      and will clothe you with festal robes.”  The Lord is acting as Joshua’s Advocate.

                 e.  The angel admonished Joshua, “If you will walk in My ways and if you will 

                       perform My service, then you will also govern My house and have charge of 

                       My courts, and I will grant you free access among those who are standing here.”

                 f.  Joshua represents the land/people of Israel.  Through God’s servant, the Branch, 

                     God will remove the iniquity of the land and everyone will sit under his vine and 

                     fig tree.

                g.  This passage sheds much light on the role of God as “paraclete.”

                h.  Like Joshua we are accused by Satan, but defended by God.

       C.  The second term is just as important—“hilosmos” in the original.  Propitiation in the 

              English.  “Atoning sacrifice” in some.

                 1.  This word means “satisfaction” (margin, NASB).  Christ is the satisfaction for our

                        sins.  He has paid the price for the removal of our sins.  In His sacrifice, He 

                        became the victim of our sin.  

                  2.  It is used in 1 Jn. 4:10.  God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

                  3.  In Rom. 3:25 God displayed Christ publicly “as a propitiation in His blood.”

                  4.  His role as priest and sacrificial offering are brought together in Heb. 9:5 in the 

                        word “hilast?rion,” translated “mercy seat.”  It was the place where the High 

                        Priest sprinkled the blood as payment for sin to make atonement for the 

                        people.  Christ Jesus entered heaven itself and there sprinkled His blood for our

                        forgiveness (Heb. 9:11ff, 24).

            D.  What does this mean in 1 Jn. 2?

                  1.  John is writing that we might not sin, but if/when we do we have one to plead 

                       our case.  

                  2.  And He is a powerful one.   He has sacrificed Himself to pay our penalty.

                  3.  The one who has died for us pleads our case.

                  4.  The accuser may accuse us of sin and we are indeed guilty.  Here we stand in 

                        filthy garments.  BUT our attorney has paid the penalty of death for us.  And 

                        clothed us in garments of righteousness (Isa. 61:10), robes washed white in the 

                        blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14).  Now who can condemn us?  Paul asks in Rom. 

                        8:33-34, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?  God is the one who 

                        justifies; who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, 

                        rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for 





1.  God is light!  He has brought His enlightenment into the world in the Word of Life.

2.  John and the other eyewitnesses have announced it to us.

3.  In this Light there is fellowship and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

4.  Do not sin!  But we do have an Advocate, a powerful Advocate who also is the propitiation for our sins.

5.  But not for ours only, “for those of the whole world” (2:2).

6.  Come out of the darkness and into the Light of forgiveness!





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