WALK 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 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 1:5-7)
Here we have the writings of the same Apostle John who wrote Revelation. This is a pertinent area we need to pay attention to if we desire to endure and overcome in the last days. We noted that the conflict in the end times is between God and Satan, between good and evil; in fact, between light and darkness. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians wrote:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but expose them.”
To overcome darkness, we must live in the light, for darkness and light are incompatible. The light will dismiss all that is darkness. If the light dims or is extinguished, darkness will reign. In other words, God expects us to remain in the light and have nothing to do with darkness and its deeds so that we can continue to fellowship with Him, for He is light.
The Apostle Peter puts it in this manner:
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.”
(1 Peter 1:15-16)
The Lord Jesus in John declared:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deed were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he does has been done through God.”
(John 3:19- 21)
We see that apart from knowing Jesus who is the light of the world, men who naturally love darkness will not come to the light, but will instead continue to dwell in darkness and pursue evil deeds. Those who profess to believe in Jesus but continue to love and dwell in darkness, refusing to come to the truth, need to evaluate whether they are children of light in the first place. This is a serious matter; many who claim to be believers will be shocked when they are finally told by the Lord Jesus that He does not know them as His people (Matthew 7:23).
However, although we who believe in Jesus are children of light, we are still not perfected in holiness and are prone to fall back into sin and deeds of darkness. But God provides forgiveness to us if we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness, as Christ has paid the penalty for our sins at the cross by taking our place (1 John 1:9).
Confessing our sin will involve turning from sin in repentance, and repentance invariably involves a changed attitude towards oneself and God. It means dying to our old ways and crucifying the flesh. In other words, the lifestyle of the old man is put to death and dismantled. Repentance entails a continual and persistent refusal to compromise with sin, and the engaging in an ongoing battle for holiness by the enabling of the Holy Spirit. Repentance also fosters a new attitude toward God, giving rise to a new awareness of the holiness and justice of God, as well as a recognition of His abundant and amazing grace toward us.
Repentance brings about a broken spirit, a spirit in which self-sufficiency and self-defense have been broken down and the child of God looks to the steadfast love of God and His grace for pardon and restoration of fellowship with Him. A truly repentant spirit brings forth a new concern and longing for holiness, and a more accurate understanding of the mercy and grace of the Almighty, and culminates in a deeper worship of Him.
The Christian life is characterised by repentance from beginning to end; the spirit of repentance is life-long and until we are perfected in Christ Jesus when He comes again, we continue to nurture such a spirit. Yes, indeed, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Repentance enables the child of God to come back to the light quickly and to restore purity in the heart each time he falls into sin.
Without walking in the light, the believer will be overwhelmed by darkness. For our foe is a formidable foe and he seeks to plunge us continually into sin and darkness. As we prepare ourselves to face the end times, we must walk in the light and embrace the spirit of repentance in our life-long pilgrimage on earth. We can neither claim to be ‘perfect’ in our lives, nor that there is no need for repentance as God has forgiven all our past, present and future sins. This is a deception and a lie the evil one desires us to believe and it will inevitably lead to spiritual death and destruction. We need to remember that the same light showing us that there is a God and Jesus is our savior also shows us that God must be worshipped in holiness. Refusing to repent only leaves us in the darkness; it is tantamount to ‘sinning in the broad daylight of truth and heading for hell at high noon’. (William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, July 9 reading)
Although God is unlimited in His power, purity and holiness, He exercises much patience and forbearance with sinners (Romans 3:25). The Scriptures reveal that God is long-suffering and slow to anger. However, we need to realize that God’s forbearance is not infinite; He does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7). The day of wrath will come when God will judge the secrets of men and women through Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16). Jesus Himself spoke much of hell when He was on earth although He was full of compassion and love towards sinners. Let us not take for granted God’s longsuffering and patience by continuing to live in sin and defiantly refusing to repent and to come back to the light.