(Heard, Seen and Handled 3)
In a Nutshell
John's message reiterates what has been revealed about the beginning when God created and said "Let there be light!" The message could not be clearer. Jesus Christ came because God has always wanted us to walk with Him.
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Consider the way John compares one thing with another - light with darkness; truth with self-deceit; fellowship with walking in the dark; being clean with accusing God of being untrue.
5 This then is the declaration we have heard from him, declaring it to you: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 Should we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we would be lying and not doing what is true; 7 but if in the light we walk, as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all offence. 8 Were we say that we have no offence, we [simply] deceive ourselves, the truth [has departed and] is not in us. 9 When we confess our offences he. being faithful and righteous, in order that he may forgive us for our offences makes us clean from all offence. 10 Were we to assert that we have not offended, we would make him out to be a liar, and [in that case] his word is [simply] not in us.
John the "belovéd disciple" knows what he is writing about. For him it is as plain as day. Jesus has declared Himself to be the "light of the world" (John 8:12-20), and John freely goes ahead and reiterates this. God indeed is light and in Him there is no darkness whatsoever. It has also been so, from the beginning. There is no darkness on God's side of this relationship. He has now restored us and Jesus is with us as our friend, our belovéd. Those who revere His name, who walk in the light that He brings, experience this eternal fellowship with Him. He truly is the sun of righteousness which day by day rises upon our life with healing in its wings (Malachi 4:2).
This message might tell us how to think, but it doesn't suggest that first we have to get our thinking right to understand what follows. No. This is a declaration. It is declared to inform the readers and listeners about who God is to them and who they are to God. It assumes that the light is shining as it has always done since God created the heavens and the earth and that our true purpose, as God's own image-bearers, is maintained by His Son as we share in the communion that has now done away with our darkness - our presumptive entrance into the darkness - our headlong desire to live the lie, to deny the truth, and decorate our God-given lives with all kinds of sins and offensiveness. That would still be our condition if the Son of God had not come. But consider this:
When we confess our offences, he being faithful and righteous, [we do so] in order that he may forgive us for our offences and [he] makes us clean from all offence.
There seems to be a difficulty with the syntax. The sentence turns on "in order that" [HINA]. What, in this sentence, does "in order that" refer to? How do we interpret this? What comes before and what comes after? Is it that He is faithful and righteous toward us "in order that" he may forgive us, so that inspires us to confess our offence? Or is John wanting to say that we confess our offences "in order that" we may be forgiven and cleansed and rely on the fact that He is faithful and just? I think this can be answered in one way only - it is both. As we walk in the fellowship [KOINONIA] He gives to us with each other, we do so in God's light, and as we walk we are cleansed - made clean and further prepared for what He has in store for us. That is the truth of "our" situation "together", which would simply be self-deceit for ourselves [HEAUTOIS] should we deny it and thereby make Him out to be nothing but a liar.
That is the context which has been decisively brought to our attention by God who is the light, and to deny it is to deny that He wants to walk with us, that He want us to walk with Him. To suggest "I'm not offensive!" is actually a declaration that counters this declaration about the light. It is to call Him a deceitful liar. It is to deceive ourselves about the true purpose of what has been given to us. It is to run blind to His clear purpose for us which is life, the life that has now been manifested to bring us light, life, a walk with God's Son that brings us through newly cleansed with Him.