Verse 7: The Blood of Jesus
7 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.
This verse continues unfolding John’s topic of “life” and “fellowship” and completes his paradigm of “light and darkness”:
1st John 2:10-11 (CSB) The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Darkness equates to hate induced disunity. Light equates to love induced fellowship.
Simply stated, if we walk in love-induced fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. We will progressively grow in sanctification as we display the love of Christ in his body by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
This is Jesus’ command:
John 13:34-35 (CSB) I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:9-12 (CSB) As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. 12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.
Just as John said that he is writing his first epistle so that our joy may be complete (1:4), so also Jesus gave this command so that our joy may be made complete; lovelessness within the body is why so many Christians do not experience joy in Christ! You cannot love Christ – whom you do not see – if you do not love his blood-bought body that you do see.
Selfless, sacrificial, and familial love within the body is the greatest expression of Christian discipleship in the Church.
The maturity and health of every church body must be measured by the degree of joy they have in love-induced fellowship. The unity of the Spirit that they experience with one another demonstrates the unity in spirit that they share with the Father!
The greatest mistake that we make is to measure the maturity of the Church body by its programs, organizational structures, and orthodoxy; if these things do not root themselves in the love of Christ, then they are meaningless and worse than meaningless, they are dangerous and toxic to the body because they give a sense of righteousness and enlightenment apart from the presence and will of Christ himself.
Here is John’s argument:
1st John 1:3-4 (CSB) what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
He is giving us this apostolic declaration so that the Church may have fellowship together, and in the unity of fellowship, may enter into the blessed joy of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
To walk in this fellowship means that we walk in the light of Christ’s love towards one another and enjoy the blessed fellowship of the body in fellowship with Christ. Anyone who claims fellowship with God while living in hate-induced disunity with his blood-bought body is living a lie and does not know Christ.
What does it mean to walk in the light of love with one another?
1st Corinthians 13:4-8 (CSB) Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.
No concept has been more perverted in our generation than the concept of love. But this is true godly love. Each of these points reveals in unison what Christ-like love is; to be devoid of any single point is to be devoid of Christ’s love altogether.