But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context
John’s writings were known to be some of the later ones in the Bible, and John himself was known to be very close to Jesus. Well the epistles of John are short, the book of 1 John is especially significant for many reasons – with the message of eternal life in Jesus, who came in flesh being apparent in the book. The beginning of 1 John is not unlike the beginning of the gospel of John, and in 1 John 1 the apostle uses the analogy of light and darkness very strongly. The message in this verse is not uncommon in the Bible – the analogy of light, the reminder of how the blood of Christ washes away our sins – these are ideas expounded upon again and again in the Bible.
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light – First, we know that the ‘he’ referred to in this verse is God – God is light; in him there is no darkness at all [1 John 1:5]. Jesus will be mentioned later on in this verse instead. God is light. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent [Psalm 104:2], and he lives in unapproachable light [1 Tim 6:16]. Walking in the light would mean there is no darkness – Darkness being the absence of light, and hence there can be no darkness when light is present. Walking in the light would mean living by the Truth, following God’s precepts, holy, pure and righteous. There is no room for darkness. There is no room, ideally, for sin. A proper Christian leads a Christlike life.
we have fellowship with one another – to have fellowship with one another, we must first have fellowship with God by walking in the light – this idea of fellowship is directly linked to the verse before – If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth [1 John 1:6]. When we love the same God, and we follow his precepts, we will have so much in common with each other, and fellowship between believers will come naturally – probably not without problems, but it will come naturally.
the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin – Jesus said in John 8:12 – I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. It wouldn’t be wrong to think of ourselves as corrupted, or rotten, or whichever term your favour; and by the shedding of the blood of Christ, we become cleansed and purified. We become, somehow, holy. Can you imagine your bowl of soup with a cockroach in it? Would you still drink from it? No, because it is dirty, it is unclean. Even if you managed to scoop out the cockroach and all its body parts that you can see, you probably wouldn’t want to drink from it anymore. It’s hard to think of the soup as clean after it has been tainted by the unclean. Likewise, mankind is corrupted and tainted with sin – it is hard to imagine otherwise. But Christ came and through his blood washed away our sins. It’s like the same bowl of soup being as clean as before. Not a new bowl of soup. Not you drinking it because you don’t mind the thought of the unclean soup. It’s been cleansed. That’s what Christ did for us.
The messages that can be found in this verse are not unique to this verse – light of God, fellowship with other believers, Christ’s blood purified us from sin. Yet when you put these messages together, you get a connection – when we walk in the light, we can fellowship with other believers, connected by our individual fellowship with God and Christ whose blood washed away out sins. Imagine the Kingdom of God as a whole series of connections – everything is part of his plans for our greater good. When we walk in the light, we’ll see these plans come into fruition.