A Biblical Test of “Fellowship”

Today we begin the wonderful book known as 1 John. This little book in the back of the New Testament was written by John the disciple; the same man who wrote the gospel of John. In 1 John 1 he gives us a test of fellowship; how we can determine if we are in fellowship with Jesus. This is an important theme throughout the book of 1 John, in fact, it might be the main idea that runs throughout. Let’s read what John writes in verses 6-10. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. First, John creates a test of living in darkness or living in the light.   John doesn’t define what that means specifically; rather he sets up a very general criteria for evaluation. Do you live in the light of the gospel of Christ or do you like to lurk more in the shadows? I think it’s fair to equate darkness here with patterns of sin. If we walk in darkness we do not have the light and we don’t have fellowship with Jesus. Then John writes about how sin can be an evaluation point for us. In verse 8 John says that if we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Then in verse 10 he makes a similar point. I don’t think that John has in mind people who really believe that they have never done anything wrong. I’ve personally never met such a person, someone who thinks he is perfect. What I think John has in mind here is a person who doesn’t think that his sin needs to be addressed or that his sin has no consequences. I’ve met lots of people who fit into that category. John contrasts that group with those in verse 9 who confess their sins and receive forgiveness and cleansing. This group recognizes their need for fellowship with Jesus and their need for cleansing.

Which group do you fall into? Are you someone who sees the seriousness and darkness of your sin; driving you to identify with Jesus and to regularly confess your sins to Him? Or, do you think your sin is not a problem? If you think your sin is no problem then you are not in fellowship with Jesus…you’ve failed the test. But the good news is that Jesus stands ready to receive and forgive you.


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