Fellowshipping in the Light (4): Walking in the Light
Reformed Free Publishing Association
We said that there are two ways of walking. We looked at the horrible walk of darkness: a walk of shame, a walk of misery. Now we look at the beautiful walk of light. When we walk in light, we walk in purity and holiness. When we walk in light, we walk in the warmth, joy, gladness, and comfort of God’s countenance. As it were, God smiles upon us. When we walk in the light, we walk in the new life of Jesus Christ, we walk in vitality, bringing forth fruit to the glory of God. When we walk in the light, we walk in the truth, for our life conforms to the reality, which is God. We know him and confess him as he has revealed himself. When we walk in the light, we walk in the glory of God. We know no shame; no cloud of displeasure or disapproval separates us from God.
But remember that John uses the word if. “If we walk in the light; if we walk in purity and holiness; if we walk in joy; if we walk in life; if we walk in truth; if we walk in glory; we have fellowship. I repeat what I said earlier: John is not saying that fellowship depends upon our walking in the light, but he is saying that if we walk in the light—which is the fruit of God’s gracious work in us—then fellowship necessarily follows. Contrariwise, if we walk in darkness, then fellowship necessarily does not follow, for fellowship in the darkness is impossible.
What, then, does a walk in the light look like? It is a life of faith and repentance, a life of obedience, a life of honoring God, a life of keeping God’s commandments, a life of devotion to God, a life of love for God and the neighbor, a life of prayer and Bible study. It is a life of faithfulness in marriage or in single life, a life of diligence in one’s calling, a life of obedience and honor for parents, and a life of faithful attendance at public worship. Show me a man or a woman with that kind of life, and I can almost guarantee (unless he is a very skillful hypocrite) that he or she is in fellowship with God.
Such a life—which is in the light, where God is—is a life of fellowship with God’s people. Notice how John expresses it: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” (v. 7). We might have expected, “we have fellowship with God.” That is presupposed, but we also have fellowship “one with another.” Walkers in the light have a certain spiritual affinity, commonality: they are attracted to one another. We are excited to find another person walking in the light, when so many walk in darkness. We encourage one another to press on, to keep walking in the light. We hold one another accountable to keep walking in the light together. We strengthen one another to resist the darkness together. When we see another Christian straying into the darkness, we call him back: “Walk with the Lord and with us in the light.” And if a fellow Christian persists in walking in darkness, we refuse fellowship with him until he repents. We certainly do not join him in the darkness!
What a beautiful thing!
To be continued…
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