(1Jo 1:5-6 ESV) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
John writes in a very black-and-white fashion. Either you practice the truth (the gospel) or not. Either you are in fellowship with God or not. And you walk either in darkness or in light. There is no gray. After all, in God there “is no darkness at all.” That is, if I’m in God, then I’m entirely in the light, because there is only one light source, and if I’m in it, there’s no darkness at all.
I cannot be in fellowship with God at all unless I walk in the light. If I practice the truth (the gospel), then I’m in fellowship with God and not in darkness.
(1Jo 1:7 ESV) 7 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 cleanses us from all sin.
And so, if we walk in the light/have fellowship with God/practice the truth, our sins are continuously forgiven.
(1Jo 2:10-11 ESV) 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Just so, if we love our brothers, we walk in the light. If we hate our brothers, we walk in darkness.
Similarly, we find in John —
(Joh 12:36 ESV) While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
(Joh 12:46 ESV) 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
Those who believe in Jesus are in the light. Everyone else is in darkness.
Which takes us back to “truth” and 1 John 1:6.
John’s point in 1 John 1:7 is not that we have to measure up to some unspecified standard of goodness to be in “walking in the light,” and if we’re good enough, then God will forgive our other sins.
And he’s most certainly not saying that God will not forgive your errors in worship and church organization, but if you get those right, then your other sins will be forgiven. I mean, isn’t that how we interpret it? And where on earth is that in the passage?
We take the simplest concepts and make them so unnecessarily complicated …