Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Walking in the Light


"The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete." 1 John 1:2,3

Fellowship restored

Jesus came to reconcile man to God so that man can enjoy fellowship with God not only in heaven but already on earth. Those who trust in Jesus have access to the Father to enjoy intimacy and close fellowship with God on a daily basis. This is the joy of salvation - being made right with God to enjoy His presence and fellowship! God demonstrates His love for us by giving us His Son so that we can have fellowship with Him. God has done everything for man to be close to Him! 

Walking in the Light

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, His Son, purifies us from every sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also for the sins of the world." 1 John 1:5- 2:2

God is light. He is holy and expects His children to walk in holiness (1 Peter 1:15,16). Those who walk in fellowship with God will walk in holiness. As children of Light we are to produce the fruit of the Light (Eph. 5:8,9).

John recognises that even though the believer seeks to walk in the Light, he may occasionally sin. That is a very different walk to the one who continues to walk in sin or darkness. Clearly those who continue to walk in darkness, produce the fruit of darkness and are not in fellowship with the Light, even if they claim to know God and walk with Him! John is repeating what Jesus says in Matthew 7:16 concerning what is revealed by the fruit of one's life.

The effect of sin

John's concern for his spiritual children that they don't sin is based on the fact that sin affects our fellowship with God and one another. If it didn't, then there would be no need to confess our sins! Through Christ, however, the Father has made provision for man to enter His presence and to remain in His presence. Occasional sin does not sever our relationship to God but it certainly affects our fellowship with Him. When a child of God sins, he grieves the Spirit of God (Eph. 4:30). Grace isn't given to cover our sin but to empower us to live in the Light (Titus 2:11,12).

The carpet of grace

If grace is a carpet that we receive from God, then we must understand that it is not given to sweep our sins under. That is to say we have no sin (1 John 1:10)! Rather, the carpet of grace is given for us to stand upon with our sin before God. The mercy and grace of God give us access to enter the presence of God with our sin and to deal with our sin with Him to restore intimacy with Him. On the carpet of grace we are not judged and condemned but rather we are loved, forgiven and empowered to overcome our weaknesses. 

Many Christians still live according to the Old Testament where man had to first offer a sacrifice before being allowed in the presence of God. Similarly many believers feel they must first deal with their sin before coming before God. That way, when they feel good enough they feel they can enter God's presence. The problem with approaching God this way is that it is unbiblical and self-righteous. When do you feel good enough to really know you're good enough? 

True confession and repentance

Confession is not based on what man thinks is wrong. Confession is agreeing with what God sees as wrong! Repentance is not promising God never to do a particular wrong again but changing our minds and living according to God's revelation. Those who continue to sin have not accepted God's word and allowed it to dwell in them and change them - it has no place in their lives (1 John 1:10).

The throne of grace

The writer to the Hebrews says we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb. 4:16). Those who live under law, approach God's throne not with confidence, but with fear of punishment and a great sense of guilt and condemnation. But that is exactly what Jesus came to resolve (Rom. 8:1). The reason we can apparoach the throne of grace with confidence in our time of need (when we have sinned or need strength to overcome) is that we rely on the mercy and grace that is available to us when we stand in the presence of God with our sin! It is in His Light that we truly see our sin the way God sees it. The result will be godly sorrow over our sin rather than worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life in the Light (holiness) but worldly sorrow is temporary and leads to death (2 Cor. 7:10-11).

Value the presence of God

God longs for His children to walk in fellowship with Him. He has done everything possible for man to enjoy His company and to be a friend to Him. Don't let sin destroy your intimate walk with God. Walk in the Light and deal with your sin in the Light. The more you become aware of His presence the less inclined you will be to sin. Include the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. In every danger zone acknowledge the holy presence of God before rushing into something you will later regret. Value the presence of God and you will walk in holiness, enjoying fellowship with God!

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