Commentary by Walter Albritton

December 17, 2006


Walking in the Light as the Blood Cleanses us from Sin


1 John 1:1—2:5


Key Verse: This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. – 1 John 1:5


Electrical storms make me nervous. But it was during such storms that as a small boy I learned to deal with my fear of both darkness and lightning.

The pump that provided water for our home was a hundred yards downhill from the house. Whenever lightning knocked out the fuse my dad would take me with him to replace the fuse. I held the flashlight so he could see how to do it.

As we walked through the rain, with lightning flashing all around, I was not afraid as long as my father held my hand. Dad was big and strong and he could do anything. Somehow I felt safe because I was with my Dad. In his presence fear had to take a back seat. Holding Dad’s hand I was not afraid of the “monsters” that crouched in the darkness.

John felt the same way about Christ. Stay with Christ; walk in the light he sheds on our way. Then we need not be afraid of the darkness or any of the evil the darkness hides from our view.  

Darkness is real but light is more real. Darkness is powerful but light is more powerful. Sin invites us to walk in the darkness. God invites us to walk in the light. To walk in darkness is to lie and refuse to obey God. To walk in the light is to live like Christ, for he is Light (with a capital L).

For John Christ is light, a light that has shone in the darkness to show us that God is light. Not only is God light; he is pure light or nothing but light since there is no darkness at all in God.

John gives us this helpful contrast between light and darkness. Darkness is sin or evil; light is holiness and righteousness. When we lie about being sinners, we walk in darkness. When we agree with God that we have sinned, we walk in the light.

Today’s lesson is a powerful, personal testimony, not a boring essay on the church. John speaks with authority of what he has heard with his own ears, seen with his own eyes, and touched with his own hands. His words sound like those of a man totally convinced that he knows whereof he speaks.

Why he writes is plainly stated. His aim is that others may share in the rich fellowship he has found with others who are walking in the light. John wants others to know the joy he and his friends have found in fellowship with the Father and his Son – and with each other.

This fellowship is based on being reconciled to God. Though John admits they are all sinners, they have been forgiven! Their sins have been washed away; they are now clean through the power of Christ’s blood. Having been forgiven and cleansed, they now enjoy an entirely new relationship to one another as well as to God.

We no longer need to put up a false front and pretend to be holy. We can be real, knowing that we are accepted by God and by fellow believers as sinners who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb!

What a fellowship this is for believers! No wonder the songwriter says, “Oh how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms”! When we walk in the light we have peace with God, and with each other, and the path does grow brighter from day to day!

We should observe the present tense nature of 1 John 1:7. When we walk in the light, and enjoy the Christ-centered fellowship, the blood of Christ continually “cleanses us from all sin.” The cleansing is ongoing even as repentance is ongoing. As we continually repent of our sins, we are continually cleansed. So it is imperative that we remain forgiven and active in the fellowship of believers for it is within the fellowship that the cleansing takes place.

Consider John’s motives. He shares his faith because he wants others to have joy, and so they may enjoy the benefits of the koinonia (fellowship centered in Christ!). What more worthy aim can we find for sharing our own faith?

No one will pay us much attention as long as we tell others about our grandmother’s faith, as wonderful as it may have been. But when we share from the heart, with certainty like that of John, then at least a few people will listen. And they will listen more intently when they realize that our motive is to share the joy we have found in the greatest fellowship on earth – the fellowship with the Father and his Son and other believers!

We should not be surprised that there is a connection between walking in the light and being continually washed in the blood. Many of us affirmed that correlation all our lives when we sang that simple chorus by Elisha A. Hoffman:

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

            Surely this is what the church is all about – a dynamic fellowship of people walking daily in the light even as our sins are being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. The joy we share on this journey we must find ways to tell others about so that their joy – and ours – may be, as John says, “complete.”

 (Contact Walter at