“Let’s eat Grandma!” Put one comma in that disgusting sentence and it makes all the difference for Grandma: “Let’s eat, Grandma!” What makes all the difference in 1 John is understanding the word, walk, in these verses:
If we claim to have fellowship with him (God) 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 all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)
John wrote this letter to tell about a special relationship he and others have with God, that he calls “koinonia,” or fellowship (See: Flood Muck and Koinonia). John wants you to have that same fellowship with God, too.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
But how do you know if you have that fellowship or not? John says you can tell by “your walk.” He says, since God is light, since in God there is no darkness (See: Light Reading), the people who have this fellowship with Him do not “walk in darkness.”
But what does that mean, exactly? Do you walk in darkness? Are you a liar? Have you been fooling yourself? What does John mean by “walking?”
When John says “walk” he is talking about the regular direction and character of your life. “Walking in darkness” means living a lifestyle at odds with the direction and character God intended for us humans when He designed us. “Walking in the light” refers to a lifestyle that is harmonious with what God intended. For example, one who walks in the light would tend to love those who treat him badly. One who walks in the darkness would try to get revenge against them.
WATCH OUT! IT IS EASY TO MISUNDERSTAND THIS!
First, John is not saying that if you try real hard to be good, then you will earn a relationship with God! Rather, he says that when you have a relationship with God (the one that comes when you trust Jesus Christ), you can tell it by the change in the direction and character of your life. The “koinonia” relationship one has with God causes him to turn around, and heading toward the light and away from the darkness.
Secondly, “Walking in the light” It does not mean living a totally sinless life, but, rather, a lifestyle that tends to be harmonious with God’s design. Do you see where he says “the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin”? Doesn’t that mean we live a sinless life? No way, and John is going to explain that further in the next verses. Notice that John does not say the blood of Jesus purified us from all sin, but that it purifies us. The form of the word he uses means that this purification happens in a continuous way, as we walk in the light but still sin.
You have seen offers online to clean viruses off your computer. But unless you get an antivirus program that continuously does that, keeping your computer clean every time it was attacked, it would quickly become hopelessly corrupted. That’s how the blood of Christ works to purify us from sin when we “walk in the light.”
So, John wants us to ask, which direction are you walking? Toward the light or away from it? Don’t fool yourself or lie to others about this. If you see that you are walking in the darkness, don’t try to turn yourself around. Ask Jesus to do it, and trust Him. You will soon see the difference. You will see it in your “walk.”
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12