On Communion with God

September 2, 2023

person standing on hill

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5-10

God is light. This is a message John and the disciples heard from the fullness of the image of God - Jesus Christ His Son about who God is and how it is (problematic) to relate to Him on our own. Communion requires intimacy, closeness, harmony between two parties. Yet, with God being light, and in him no darkness is present at all, I as one who sins and walks in my sins, can never have fellowship or communion with him. Even if I shout at the top of my lungs like the constant blaring of the horn of an old locomotive train going down the tracks - that I have fellowship with him, God says through this passage I do not. I am only deceiving myself.

How then can I have communion with God, the source of all life, joy, peace, love, and hope? How can I ever have hope of drawing near to Him if I am in darkness? Here God expresses that hope through John's writing: If we walk in the light.

Walking implies movement, walking in implies a change to and staying in the path where I am walking. The path of light and the path of darkness are not the same path, they are totally different paths, requiring me to change the path that I am to take. Yet how to I know that I am walking in the light? The next phrase, as He is in the light tells us how. Where He is, there is the light. Yet how do I know where He is? He is revealed through His Son Jesus, whose blood cleanses us from all sin. Cleanses. Like light overcoming and replacing darkness so that the darkness is gone and the light remains, His blood cleanses us from all our sin. It is then we have fellowship with God, through and with our fellowship with one another who together have been cleansed by Christ's blood.

How then does this happen? How do I change paths from darkness to light? How does my sin get washed by the blood of Christ? The answer, John tells us is two things. First, he tells us what not to do, repeating it twice, indicating the urgency and importance of never ever doing such things. Second he tells us what to do. What am I not to do? I am not to say that I have not sinned or never sinned. I am not to excuse my sin as trivial or insignificant to the breaking of the communion I should be having with God. I should not consider myself as having no wrongdoing. For in doing so, I make God a liar, the One who knows who I am and has honestly revealed what my sin problem is through His Word. Then I say my sin is excusable, I become a liar, and no longer in the realm of truth.

Then what am I to do? Confess my sins. Confess. This is not merely saying I have sinned. This is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching realization of the evilness of my rebellion against God. This is a grief-stricken, angsty reaction to the sin that I have been blatantly committing against my God who has loved me before my beginning. Like a wayward son who realizes his wrongdoing against His loving and righteous father, and thus returns even if it brings shame and humility - I am to confess my sins.

Very often people debate this verse as to whom to confess sins, that this verse only encourages us to confess sins to God and hide it from others. Of course, we cannot go around proclaiming all our evil thoughts, words, and actions to any people around us, for it is a selfish thing to do to speak of evil so nonchalantly. Yet, to focus the debates on to whom to confess misses the point God is making in this passage - the heart of confession. By merely using the word confess without giving us the recipient of the confession, God desires us to focus on what we are confessing first and foremost: our sin. Confessing it means we admit deep down it is wrong and should not be remaining in us. Sin is darkness, and no longer do I want to walk in darkness now that I have seen the beautiful, amazing, life-giving life.

The result of such confession is amazing. God says He is faithful and just to forgive our sins! Think about the phrase for a second. If God is faithful and just, then my sins don't merit me forgiveness, they merit me punishment! Very often we don't think we deserve punishment, because many of us have never been punished gravely for our sins and mistakes. We are quick to blame other factors or situations to the cause of our demises, but never our negligence of mistakes. Yet, what we deserve, if God is faithful and just (and He is), is not forgiveness, but the wages of my sin: separation from God as darkness is separated from light - in death. Yet, why is this passage telling us He is faithful and just to forgive our sins? The next sentence gives us the answer: and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Where did he last say this? In verse 7, He says that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sin. This means, that the reason he is faithful and just to forgive me of my sin - is not because he saw my sincerity or heard my anguishing cries of brokenness, but because the blood of His Son has cleansed me from all my sin.

Oh what comfort and hope is that to me, a preacher who sins. A preacher who struggles with my daily dose of iniquity. Time and time again I am tempted to dismiss my sin, hide it, thinking that for it to be brought up and revealed, I will face unforgiveness and banishment. Yet God says assuredly, if I confess my sins - I receive forgiveness and cleansing, because God is faithful and just to honor the payment for these sins that His Son Jesus made, through His blood on the cross. As I close, I remember the late Dr. Harry Reader's answer to a question during a Ligonier conference on Christ's intercession for us when we confess our sins. He says, many people imagine that when we confess our sins, Jesus is simultaneously interceding on our behalf, pleading before God the Father to forgive our iniquities because surely the next time we will do better. Yet, this is wrong he says. Dr. Reader says that when Jesus intercedes for us before the Father when we confess our sins, His words would be, "Father, forgive your child, for I have already paid the price for his sin."

Oh believe in God's promises preacher! Draw near to God through Christ, for He has paid for your sins. You now can and are, walking in the light. Walk in the light believer. The blood of Christ cleanses you and me from all our sin.

Thank you Jesus!

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