Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I John - Walking in Darkness vs. Walking in Light - Week 02

In our second week with First John we started right in on some of the meatier portions of the first chapter.  We discussed fellowship, both our initial impressions of the word and ultimately what the Apostle John actually meant by the greek word behind it "koinonia."  While a lot of our connotation behind the English word "fellowship" seems somehow reminiscent of food and carry-in dinners, the idea behind it is actually far greater than potato salad or soup.  The author is really talking about something the audience shares in common with him and the other Apostles, but not with them only, also astonishingly with God Himself, both naming God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  That made us stop joking about the Baptist definition of the word and really focus on what was going on.  We, as humans, share something deeper than our family relationships?  Or nice people we like to talk to? Or shared interests?  Yes, we do.  Pastor Jon stressed the depths of this statement that we are, in fact, now drawn together in the Body of Christ by something much more powerful than friends or activities.  We are now a part of each other because of who we are in Christ.  We have a relationship with each other and with God ultimately, because of who Christ has made us.  It's little wonder the very next thought the author has is the fact that writing this and sharing this with his readers is for the overflowing filling of his own joy.  He simply cannot restrain himself from telling them the Truth of Jesus.

From there we kept going on a slight cloud of happy thoughts discussing God's nature which is entirely in the light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.  This was good stuff, and then we hit the reality check of the chapter...  It's all fine and good to get excited about God being righteous and having no sin, but it does create a tension between what follows those verses and the idea of our fellowship with Christ coming in earlier verses...

"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (vs. 6)  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."

That brought several things into question--what does God mean by walking in darkness?  How do you know you're walking in the light?  These seemed pretty important questions to be able to determine how to know whether or not you have fellowship with God.

But there seems to be a tension between the idea that our fellowship rests in Jesus Christ alone, and the idea that we must somehow walk in the light if we want fellowship with God.  Is that not what he's saying there?  Perhaps, we could say that this only applies to people who have sin issues and that we're past all that now...  Keep reading to Verse 8 - "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Ouch.  Ok, we can't take that out.  So is all hope lost for us? Don't stop there... 9 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.

Simply put, we didn't get to finish this thought, sadly the bell was ringing to finish the class.  The penny is still in the air, and we are taking this week to chew on these ideas.  We have to be sure that when things seem confusing and hard to understand, we are willing to put our own opinions and ideas aside when we are shown the Truth differs with us.  So, how do all these pieces of the puzzle fit together?  If you want to know more, come see for yourself what it's all about.  There's no use pretending, we're not naturally light-walking people.  We are as much in darkness as they come...  How can we have real fellowship with Jesus when the text itself tells us we have sin and we can't walk in the light on our own...?

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