If We Walk In The Light
Walking in the light pre-supposes that one is in the light. In the Scripture the sinner is spoken of as being in darkness, and, therefore, cannot walk in the light. We are told that men “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”
Speaking of Christians, the Apostle Paul said, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: “Ye are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (I. Thess. 5:5). He said his mission to the Gentiles was “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.” He testified, “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6.)
Christians are in the habit of singing:
“At the cross, at the cross,
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away;
It was there, by faith,
I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.”
And this is correct. This experience is known as conversion, justification, regeneration, or being born again. It was then that our blinded eyes were opened and that we emerged from darkness into light. Sin darkens the mind and shuts out the light of God. The call to every sinner is, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph. 5:14)
Jesus said, “If, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (Matt. 6:22, 23.) The single eye doubtless refers to singleness of purpose; the purpose of the heart to turn from all evil and follow only that which is good. It is nothing less than a complete consecration of all to God.
Light is frequently used in the Bible as a synonym not only for knowledge, but for God’s favor. David said, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.” (Ps. 89:15.) “They got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because thou hadst a favor unto them.” (Ps. 44:3.)
No one can retain the favor of God and disobey Him. Hence, if we would “walk in the light,” we must walk in obedience. And to such as have retained the favor of God and now walk in obedience, there comes the promise that “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (I. John 1:7.)
So we see that there is a cleansing from sin as an experience subsequent to regeneration, for such as are in the light and walking in obedience to the will of God. This cleansing from all sin is what Mr. Wesley termed “The second blessing, properly so-called.” Certain it is that no man can walk in the light until after he has received the light.
This first epistle of John was written to justified believers and written “because” their sins are forgiven, and “because” they have known the Father, and “because” they are strong, and “because” the word of God abideth in them, and “because” they have overcome the wicked one. See I. John 2:12-14. He says his object in writing to them is that “your joy may be full,” (1:4), and “that ye sin not” (2:1). But in order that they as Christians might have this fullness of joy and “sin not,” he urges upon them the necessity of walking in the light and so being cleansed from all sin.
Sins committed must be confessed, and are forgiven. Pardon is a judicial act; cleansing is a priestly function. Original or inbred sin cannot be pardoned, for the simple reason that it is not something we have done, but a something inherited, inborn. And while this, in the nature of the case, cannot be forgiven, there is power and efficacy in the blood of Jesus to cleanse it away. It is this cleansing that takes place after we are in the light and “walk in the light.”
Seeing that obedience is essential and necessary in order to retain the favor of God, there comes the time in the life of the believer when he must find this cleansing, or by his disobedience and refusal to walk in the light he will lose the favor of God, and the light that is in him will become darkness: “how great is that darkness.”
But he that walks in the light will find not only the cleansing from all sin, but that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” (Isa. 60:19, 20.) Therefore, “ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”