Thursday, May 10, 2007

Are you up to the challenge?

Yesterday a dear friend challenged me to follow him and another close friend in a journey of reading through the Greek New Testament over the next year. I'm up for it and have decided to help keep me accountable I am starting another blog for those who join me in the challenge.

Over the last few weeks I have been meditating on 1 John and when I finished the reading this morning I summarized a few comments about the passage that I thought would be beneficial to share:

John starts the paragraph off with a foundational proposition which seems to be the basis for the propositions that follow: God is light and in him is no darkness at all. Light, I think, is interchangeable with truth, life, and righteousness here. Darkness is the polar opposite. So God is consumed with, defined by, consists of all truth and no deception, all life and no death, all things holy and nothing unclean.

Then John brings in the first proposition that is built off the first but seems to be connected with that of verse 3. John says that if we have fellowship with God but walk in darkness, we are liars and the truth is not in us. This is predicated on the previous truth: God is truth-light and in Him there can be no darkness. So if we have this fellowship with the Son and the Father as verse 3 says, and there can be no darkness in God, then

  1. Fellowship is more than just an identification with God, it is a participation with, a unifying with, a joining to.
  2. We cannot be in darkness--falsity or unrighteousness--and actually be having this active fellowship with God. The two--light and darkness--cannot exist together.

John then brings a positive contrast to walking in the darkness: If we are walking in the light just as He is in the light, we have 2 things:

  1. We have fellowship with one another. Our participation with, unification with, joining together with each other is based on our relationship with God. In other words, our fellowship with each other is predicated on our fellowship with God. I cannot say I am with you if I am not with God. And the only way to maintain that with-ness, i.e. fellowship, is formulated in verse 9.
  2. Jesus blood cleanes us from all darkness--sin. Our fellowship with God is founded upon a pure and holy life--something I sure don't have a grip on. However, Jesus does. His blood atoned for my unrighteousnes. But also His blood gave me His righteousness. And it is in this that I can stand and say that I am forgiven.

John then moves on to explain that his purpose in writing like this is to help us grow out of walking in sin. He does not suggest that we will stop sinning. In fact he points out that when we do sin, we have our attorney at our side who pleads on our behalf, who stands in in our place: Jesus Christ--the only righteous one.

John makes it very clear, though, in the following verses that the fellowship is maintained by living in the light and he defines what that is: it is living in a way that is loving toward each other and not causing each other to stumble in the darkness.

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