“That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we saw, and our hands touched, concerning the Word of life (and the life was revealed, and we have seen, and testify, and declare to you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was revealed to us); that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us. Yes, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ. And we write these things to you, that our joy may be fulfilled.”
1 John 1:1-4
John was there with Jesus in His ministry. He saw God, heard the words of God, touched God (leaned on Jesus breast) and now He is declaring what he knows. John has been, and is, a faithful witness to the reality of eternal life, which is fellowship with God and fellowship with each other. John wants joy, so is telling others, including us, the good news about Jesus.
What it must have been like for those disciples to follow Jesus, is mind boggling. To follow the Son of God through His earthly life and see and hear the words of eternal life repeatedly, must have been thrilling. They saw the gospel actually happening in the death and resurrection of Jesus, they lived it and it changed their lives for good. They had a message that would change the world, one soul at a time. They had a message that gave hope to every human soul and a promise of competent forgiveness and eternal life forever, a quality of life not known to the human psyche.
This message had supernatural powers to change lives and bring about a change that would be seen and noticed immediately. People would see that a person who believed would be radically different than what they were, or what they themselves were still like. This message would be so powerful that hell and it’s minions would try to stop it being heard or spread about.
Today, as we look around, it can seem like they have won. Churches are dead and dying, saints are despondent and unable and unwilling to change their ways to godly living, and people are dying in their sins. There is so much false religion, it is hard to tell the difference. Everyone claims to be true, and every message claims to be the right one.
“This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don’t tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:5-10
We must first tell people exactly what God is like. This presumes we know God and know what He is like. Are the messengers of this message like Jesus? Do they have His character as their character? Am I as a Christian like my Lord and God, or have I just imbibed another kind of culture?
God is light. He is Holy. He is perfect. He owns everything and upholds everything by his perfect Word. Only He can save us. He decides everything and nothing happens that He does not allow. He allows tragedy and sorrow, to chase us to Him and make us continually dependant on His mercy and goodness. We have no standing with Him and no claim to anything good. All blessings are from His mercy and the result of His glorious grace towards the humans he has created. People need to be taught and hear about what God is actually like.
John tells us in this passage. God is light and has no darkness at all. We are not like God. We are born into the darkness and we live in darkness until the light of God shines into our lives. We cannot walk with God, because God will not tolerate the darkness in us and would consume us if we came near Him, such is His perfections and glory.
To walk with God we need to be in the light. We need to get rid of the darkness of sin in our lives. We sin because we walk in the darkness. Our souls are darkened and we cannot relate to God. But God has provided a way out. He sent Jesus into the world to pay for sin. The fact that Jesus has died and shed His blood for the recompense of sin, is the way back to God and into the light.
To receive the blessing of this salvation for my sin, death and darkness, I must recognise my sinful state, my individual sins that I have committed, and seek the forgiveness of God. If I confess, God will forgiven me, as He promises and make me a righteous person. He can do that, because the perfection of Jesus becomes my perfection. I become a child of the light. I leave the darkness and now walk in the light, as God is in the light. Other people will notice the difference.
If I refuse to admit I am sinful and walking in dark shameful ways, I am lying to myself and God and know nothing of the truth. This is a universal principle for all human beings. Without this admission of guilt, I can never be saved. Unless I accept my futile position before a holy God, I can never be in a state to be forgiven. I can never be a Christian and I can never walk in the light.
There are many who call themselves Christians in our time, who have never known repentance and never seen what they are really like before a perfect God. They are lying to God and themselves and know nothing about the truth and certainly do not know the Truth, who is Jesus Christ, the righteous one.
The call of God, therefore, is to repentance. This is our part. The faith is given to us by God and is a gift, but it is not ours unless we repent. Unless I accept my state of total darkness before the God of uncreated light, I can never be saved.
This is the message of the gospel. It is hardly ever heard. All is placating fallen human desire and wishes, and there is no facing up and admissions of total guilt before the Holy God of heaven.
How many are really believing people? How many are really walking in the light? We can hardly tell, because there is no difference between the dark and the light any more. If we are in the dark, then all is dark. No light can walk with darkness, so we are fooling ourselves.
Repent and believe, it is the only way.
Jesus has done it all when He died on that cruel cross for our sakes. There is nothing left to do, just admit our sin and put our trust and hope in what he did for us. How glorious this is, because it depends on Him and not on us. How futile it would be if it depended on me…!
Repent and believe, so easy… such a small step to eternal life… take it….