If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (
1 John 1:6)
Talk is cheap. I can claim to be Superman. You would want to see me fly. Around seventy percent of the American population claims to be Christian. Where is the evidence? Would the culture be in moral freefall if that were truly the case? Let me be more direct. Is there proof you can present that makes your profession of faith credible?
John’s intent in writing this first letter is so we can know for certain we are prepared to meet God. He sums his purpose up in 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
True Christianity is not a mere set of beliefs someone subscribes to, but a Person that we believe in—and His name is Jesus Christ. John opens the first chapter by pointing to Him and calls Him, “the Word of life” (v.1). Real conversion rests on a genuine connection with Christ—for He is the source of eternal life. As the Word, He has communicated God to us, disclosing the plan of salvation. There is no salvation apart from Him. Although we live in an age of “tolerance” and political correctness, which dogmatically asserts there are no moral absolutes, Scripture emphatically declares that Jesus is the only way to heaven. It is not a religion that saves—it is a relationship with Christ that is required.
Why won’t religion work? Why can’t we get sprinkled as a baby, confirmed as a teen, or baptized as an adult? Isn’t joining a church and trying to be good, good enough? John says the problem is this, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (v.5) God is inexpressibly holy and infinitely righteous, demanding moral perfection for those who would be in His heaven. Who among us can claim that? Even in the best person you have ever met, there is some darkness—so how can we be in right standing with God?
When by God’s gracious intervention, and the Holy Spirit’s call, we repent—turn from walking the path of darkness to the path of light (v.6-7)—the orientation of our life is changed—something so radical as to be described as a new birth. It is unthinkable that such a work of God within us would not produce an effect in our lifestyle. Only Christ can save us. We are not saved because we decide to “clean up our act.” The stain of sin is too dark and deep. The blood of Christ alone can cleanse us. The evidence that His blood has cleansed us, however, will be seen in holy living.
Does this mean that one who comes to Christ is perfect? As to our position in Christ, we are accepted in Him, but as to our practice, it is progressive, and we will stumble at times. Even so, provision is made for cleansing (v.9) and the child of God will want that fellowship restored. God is faithful and just to forgive us of all sin, but we must confess—the word means to agree—acknowledging our need and receiving Christ. Do you have this new life? If not I beg you—come to Christ today!