“If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Here we have the crux of the problem with which early Christians were struggling in the first centuries after Pentecost. This is the same problem we have today. The problem is, “saying I’m a Christian, while not conforming my mind, heart, and behavior to Christ.” I used to say, “I’m spiritual — I believe that the Christ exists and He is God.” I was proud of this belief, because I knew it to be true. Fortunately, God showed me that simply believing in His existence is not good enough. I had this confirmed recently when I read a lecture by the 19th century revivalist, Charles Finney, in which he notes that Satan believes that God exists and that Satan fully understands the power of Christianity. I never thought about it quite that way before — of course Satan knows the truth — he was the one who was defeated by God. Part of Satan’s power to deceive and twist comes from His ability to use a little bit of truth to entice us into believing a pack of lies. He is quite knowledgeable of many things pertaining to God, but His knowledge of the truth will not save him from hell and the lake of fire. Converted Christians must go far beyond Satan’s belief in the existence and power of God. We need to have willingness to walk in the light of Christ. This means to think like Him, Feel like Him, and act like Him. Jesus was completely humble and fully submitted to the will of His Father in Heaven. He walked in the same light of truth, which He is asking all Christians to walk in.
What is the consequence of walking in the Light? According to this scripture, the result is fellowship. But what kind of fellowship? For a long time, I thought fellowship meant sitting in a big room after Sunday morning church and eating food, drinking coffee, and chit-chatting about anything that was not too personal. This is not the kind of fellowship that comes from walking in the light. It is not the Christian fellowship that Paul and the other authors of the epistles describe. Fellowship is made possible by choosing to walk in the light. Fellowship is also about helping one another walk more fully in the light of Christ. Walking in the light and participating in fellowship go hand-in-hand. We won’t have much true Christian fellowship until we walk in the light. We can be friends with Christians and be taught by Christians, but we will not have three-way fellowship until we begin to walk in the light. Three-way fellowship involves God, me, and at least one other person. Each person must be walking in the light of God. True Christian fellowship is a loving relationship where God is at work.
What are some qualities of true Christian fellowship? Christian fellowship is about both helping others and being helped to ascent to the will of God. It is about helping one another with sanctification. It is about the things we do together that help us be washed in the blood of Christ on a daily basis. It is about being made whole and complete through the life giving power of the Holy Spirit. It is about forgiving and being forgiven. It is about communion and commitment to God’s ways. It is about the Gospel message working in and through men and women who continually choose to depend fully on God. Real fellowship helps me yield and choose to enter the washing place where I can be healed and become complete through the power of the blood of Christ.
Just as Paul was not yet perfect, neither are we. Nevertheless, every day is another opportunity to be made more complete by walking in God’s light, sharing transformative fellowship, and choosing to accept the blood that increases our fitness for ministry. Lord Jesus, I want to be a fully converted Christian. I want to walk in the full light of God, to share true fellowship, and to never let a day pass-me-by without being washed once again by the blood that removes imperfections and makes me whole. Amen.