1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…
1. We are to live under the abiding impression of God's HOLINESS (ver. 8). Other lights than that from God might not show us how spotted we are. Here, then, is the first evidence that we are living, not in the light of our own conceit, but in that which comes from without and above our lives — the God light we will be very humble and penitent sort of people. But this light of holiness of God, if it really falls upon us, will show itself in another way besides; it will stir us up to a resolution to cease from sin. Read 1 John 2:3-5. A man who is contented with any negligence of duty is not in the light. Light is poured through the universe not merely as a luminator, that eyes may see in it; it has also a chemical power. It bleaches some things, it quickens others. Plants that would be but dry stalks are stirred by its touch in their finest atoms, and draw up nourishment from the earth, and shoot out leaves which turn as in gratefulness toward their benefactor, the quickening ray. So the light of God's holiness quickens the soul morally. It stirs every fibre of conscience. It makes it rejoice in every true, noble, pure aspiration. It hungers and thirsts after righteousness. It lifts itself up toward the light.
II. But the other ray of the Divine character seems to have more impressed the mind of John — viz., THAT OF GOD'S LOVE AND GRACE, OR WE MAY BETTER SAY HIS LOVE AS SHOWN IN HIS GRACE. Here is the sublimest light that ever fell out of the heavens upon men. "And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." Light is cheering to the eye. Some men are miserable without a flood of it. Professor Clifford, the great scientist, used to draw his table close to the window; his strong, clear eye delighted in the day radiance almost as the eagle's does. tells us that he had the same passionate fondness for it; "This queen of colours, the pure light, bathing all I behold, soothes me...If absent, it saddens my mind"; and then he longs for the soul light it signified — the light, he says, "which Isaac saw when his fleshly eyes were heavy, which Jacob, when blind through great age, saw with his illumined heart...So, O all-creating Lord, I lift mine invisible eyes to Thee." But both these great men were especially enamoured of the light of the Cross. They knew, what some of us have found out, that the darkest spot on earth is not some dungeon or cavern, but the centre of our moral being where it enwraps the conscience. You can get rays for mental satisfaction by studying the wonders of the world about you; you may light up your loneliness by the beauty of loved faces; but no crack or crevice in the soul lets in cheering light upon the natural man's sense of sin, Expedients of human invention for the enlightening of this dark spot are as ineffectual as the candles which are put out by the darkness of the cavern into which they are dropped. But sunshine is not put out if its ray drop into a cavern. Having come ninety millions of miles through space, it could gleam on to the very centre of the earth if the opening were straight and facing the sun itself. So the God light gleaming from the Cross goes to the innermost and darkest spot in a man's soul if only the soul opens straight towards the Cross. And that opening straight towards the Cross is what is meant by faith; as the Bible expresses it, "whose heart is perfectly toward Him." Note, by the way, the exact meaning of the word John uses here to express the cleansing of sin. "The blood of Jesus cleanseth"; present tense, is cleansing, not merely has cleansed. We are being cleansed continually. This is just the very ray of light some of you need to see. But note another effect of this grace light. It, too, like the light of righteousness, is not only an illuminator, but a force, making a change in the heart upon which it falls. It not only reveals God's love and grace to us, but makes us loving and gracious to others (1 John 2:9, 10). No Christian can be a hard man, a cold and indifferent man, a proud and selfish man, any more than ice can abide in the summer sunshine. Alas for those about whom the darkness of doubts, regrets, remorse, and fears is gathering! And what but darkness does the natural world east about the soul? Some will say with Tennyson's Rizpah, "The night has crept into my heart, and begun to darken mine eyes." But think not of the night. The day bursts above you; the heaven is breaking through the sky which shuts down so closely over you. Look up!
(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.