Fellowshipping in the Light (5): Maintaining Fellowship
Reformed Free Publishing Association
By Rev. Martyn McGeown. Previous article in the series: Fellowshipping in the Light (4): Walking in the Light
How is this fellowship with God and with other believers maintained? You might think that our fellowship is conditioned upon our obedience. Is that not the meaning of the word if? If we say we have fellowship, but walk in darkness, we lie. If we walk in the light, we have fellowship.
But that is not the meaning, for that is not how John ends verse 7: “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Is it not our responsibility to maintain fellowship by walking in the light and by avoiding darkness? We do have a calling—a responsibility. Walking in the light is necessary. It is essential. It is indispensable. It is the necessary way of fellowship. It is the only sphere in which fellowship is enjoyed. Yet we do not by our good works of obedience maintain fellowship. We cannot. The fellowship is maintained only through the grace of God. That is why John writes, “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Our walking in the light is never perfect. Our walk is stained with sin. Our walk is marred through many imperfections. Even in the light we stumble. Sometimes our stumbling is serious. Sometimes we fall catastrophically. Sometimes we even wander into the darkness.
But we never make excuses for our sins. We never say, “I cannot attain to perfection. Therefore, I will succumb to the darkness.” We must not say that. We cannot say that!
But we do not despair because Christ shed his blood for our sins. Christ shed his blood to bring us into fellowship with God. Christ shed his blood to maintain our fellowship with God.
One of the great fruits of the sacrificial death of Christ is sanctification. That is why John writes, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” To cleanse is to make clean. It is to purify. It is to sanctify. It is to remove the stains, the filth, and the pollution of sin. To cleanse from is to remove. It is the work of the Holy Spirit on the basis of the blood of Christ to separate us from our sins. The Holy Spirit on the basis of the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. Not some, not most, but all sin. And when we fall into sin, as we inevitably will, since we still have the sinful flesh, we come to the cross of Christ for pardon and for cleansing.
Salvation does not depend on us. It is the work of God in Christ. Fellowship does not depend on us either. It is the work of God in Christ. God brings us out of the darkness, where we naturally dwell. God gives us light and life. God makes us children of light. And we walk with him, and with our fellow saints, in the light. It is only in the light, and not in the darkness, where we enjoy fellowship. Ye are the children of the light. Walk as the children of light in the light—only in the light—and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse you from all sin.