But if we walk in the light - Compare the notes at 1 John 1:5. Walking in the light may include the three following things:
(1)Leading lives of holiness and purity; that is, the Christian must be characteristically a holy man, a light in the world, by his example.
(2)walking in the truth; that is, embracing the truth in opposition to all error of paganism and infidelity, and having clear, spiritual views of truth, such as the unrenewed never have. See 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 2:9-15; Ephesians 1:18.
(3)enjoying the comforts of religion; that is, having the joy which religion is fitted to impart, and which it does impart to its true friends, Psalm 94:19; Isaiah 57:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 13:11. Compare the notes at John 12:35.
As he is in the light - In the same kind of light that he has. The measure of light which we may have is not the same in degree, but it is of the same kind. The true Christian in his character and feelings resembles God.
We have fellowship one with another - As we all partake of his feelings and views, we shall resemble each other. Loving the same God, embracing the same views of religion, and living for the same ends, we shall of course have much that is common to us all, and thus shall have fellowship with each other.
And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin - See the sentiment here expressed fully explained in the notes at Hebrews 9:14. When it is said that his blood cleanses us from all sin, the expression must mean one of two things - either that it is through that blood that all past sin is forgiven, or that that blood will ultimately purify us from all transgression, and make us perfectly holy. The general meaning is plain, that in regard to any and every sin of which we may be conscious, there is efficacy in that blood to remove it, and to make us wholly pure. There is no stain made by sin so deep that the blood of Christ cannot take it entirely away from the soul. The connection here, or the reason why this is introduced here, seems to be this: The apostle is stating the substance of the message which he had received, 1 John 1:5. The first or leading part of it was, that God is light, and in him is no darkness, and that his religion requires that all his friends should resemble him by their walking in the light. Another, and a material part of the same message was, that provision was made in his religion for cleansing the soul from sin, and making it like God. No system of religion intended for man could be adapted to his condition which did not contain this provision, and this did contain it in the most full and ample manner. Of course, however, it is meant that that blood cleanses from all sin only on the conditions on which its efficacy can be made available to man - by repentance for the past, and by a cordial reception of the Saviour through faith.
But if we walk in the light - If, having received the principle of holiness from him, we live a holy and righteous life, deriving continual light, power, and life from him, then we have fellowship one with another; that is, we have communion with God, and God condescends to hold communion with us. This appears to be the intention of the apostle; and so he was understood by some versions and MSS., which, instead of μετ ' αλληλων, with each other, have μετ 'αυτον, with him. Those who are deeply experienced in Divine things converse with God, and God with them. What John says is no figure; God and a holy heart are in continual correspondence.
The blood of Jesus Christ - The meritorious efficacy of his passion and death has purged our consciences from dead works, and cleanseth us, καθαριζει ἡμας, continues to cleanse us, i.e., to keep clean what it has made clean, (for it requires the same merit and energy to preserve holiness in the soul of man, as to produce it), or, as several MSS. and some versions read, καθαριει and καθαρισει, will cleanse; speaking of those who are already justified, and are expecting full redemption in his blood.
And being cleansed from all sin is what every believer should look for, what he has a right to expect, and what he must have in this life, in order to be prepared to meet his God. Christ is not a partial Savior, he saves to the uttermost, and he cleanses from All sin.
We must let Christ into our hearts and homes if we would walk in the light. Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivation of love, sympathy, and true courtesy to one another. The reason there are so many hardhearted men and women in our world is that true affection has been regarded as weakness and has been discouraged and repressed. The better part of the nature of persons of this class was perverted and dwarfed in childhood, and unless rays of divine light can melt away their coldness and hardhearted selfishness, the happiness of such is buried forever. If we would have tender hearts, such as Jesus had when He was upon the earth, and sanctified sympathy, such as the angels have for sinful mortals, we must cultivate the sympathies of childhood, which are simplicity itself. Then we shall be refined, elevated, and directed by heavenly principles. 3T 539.1
A cultivated intellect is a great treasure; but without the softening influence of sympathy and sanctified love, it is not of the highest value. We should have words and deeds of tender consideration for others. We can manifest a thousand little attentions in friendly words and pleasant looks, which will be reflected upon us again. Thoughtless Christians manifest by their neglect of others that they are not in union with Christ. It is impossible to be in union with Christ and yet be unkind to others and forgetful of their rights. Many long intensely for friendly sympathy. God has given each of us an identity of our own, which cannot be merged in that of another; but our individual characteristics will be much less prominent if we are indeed Christ's and His will is ours. Our lives should be consecrated to the good and happiness of others, as was our Saviour's. We should be self-forgetful, ever looking out for opportunities, even in little things, to show gratitude for the favors we have received of others, and watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, that, commencing in our families, extend outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life's happiness; and the neglect of these little things makes up the sum of life's bitterness and sorrow. 3T 539.2
It is the work that we do or do not do that tells with tremendous power upon our lives and destinies. God requires us to improve every opportunity for usefulness that is offered us. Neglect to do this is perilous to our spiritual growth. We have a great work to do. Let us not pass in idleness the precious hours that God has given us in which to perfect characters for heaven. We must not be inactive or slothful in this work, for we have not a moment to spend without a purpose or object. God will help us to overcome our wrongs if we will pray and believe on Him. We can be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. When the short life in this world is ended, and we see as we are seen and know as we are known, how short in duration and how small will the things of this world appear to us in comparison with the glory of the better world! Christ would never have left the royal courts and taken humanity, and become sin for the race, had He not seen that man might, with His help, become infinitely happy and obtain durable riches and a life that would run parallel with the life of God. He knew that without His help sinful man could not attain these things. 3T 540.1Read in context »
One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. It makes apparent the unhallowed desires, the infidelity of the heart, the impurity of the lips. The sinner's acts of disloyalty in making void the law of God, are exposed to his sight, and his spirit is stricken and afflicted under the searching influence of the Spirit of God. He loathes himself as he views the pure, spotless character of Christ. SC 29.1
When the prophet Daniel beheld the glory surrounding the heavenly messenger that was sent unto him, he was overwhelmed with a sense of his own weakness and imperfection. Describing the effect of the wonderful scene, he says, “There remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” Daniel 10:8. The soul thus touched will hate its selfishness, abhor its self-love, and will seek, through Christ's righteousness, for the purity of heart that is in harmony with the law of God and the character of Christ. SC 29.2
Paul says that as “touching the righteousness which is in the law”—as far as outward acts were concerned—he was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6); but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, he saw himself a sinner. Judged by the letter of the law as men apply it to the outward life, he had abstained from sin; but when he looked into the depths of its holy precepts, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation and confessed his guilt. He says, “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Romans 7:9. When he saw the spiritual nature of the law, sin appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone. SC 29.3Read in context »
The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken. If he can control minds so that doubt and unbelief and darkness shall compose the experience of those who claim to be the children of God, he can overcome them with temptation. GW 161.1
That simple faith which takes God at His word should be encouraged. God's people must have that faith which will lay hold of divine power; “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” [Ephesians 2:8.] Those who believe that God for Christ's sake has forgiven their sins, should not, through temptation, fail to press on to fight the good fight of faith. Their faith should grow stronger until their Christian life, as well as their words, shall declare, “The blood of Jesus Christ ...cleanseth us from all sin.” [1 John 1:7.] GW 161.2Read in context »
The apostle exhorts us, “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15, 16. The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering. COL 102.1
The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love. COL 102.2
The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous. By it the impure are cleansed, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Through its life-giving power it brings all there is of mind and soul and strength into harmony with the divine life. Man with his human nature becomes a partaker of divinity. Christ is honored in excellence and perfection of character. As these changes are effected, angels break forth in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude. COL 102.3Read in context »