One of the most beautiful and expressive passages in the whole Bible is full of invaluable truth: 1 John 1:7, “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, purifies us from all sin.”
First, we will inquire, what does “walk in the light” mean?
It is an illustration. Imagine for a moment that you unexpectedly found yourselves in a trackless forest, in deep darkness, with wild beasts raging round you, and serpents crawling and hissing about you at every step you took, with pitfalls before and on every side of you, while darkness prevented your seeing the gloomy precipice that was only a little way ahead.
And then, suppose just as you were falling over the precipice I came along, with a lighted lantern in my hand, knowing the way full well, and throwing the light on the path in the direction you were to tread, said, “If you walk in that light you will escape danger, and safely reach our journey’s end”. What would you do? I think you would gladly and gratefully accept my advice by walking in the light, and so reach the desired destination.
Now, this is just what the blessed Lord is saying to you: “You are in a world crowded with peril to your body, mind and soul; peril to your family, friends, and circumstances. Devils and wicked people want to destroy you; death and destruction are on your track. One false step may carry you over the precipice into damnation. You cannot by your own skill discover a path that will lead you out of these dangers and lead you to your destination. I come to be your Guide. I will show you the way which will lead you to righteousness, usefulness and Heaven. But all My efforts will be of no avail unless you travel in the way I point out. You must walk in the light.”
“Walking in the light” means constant obedience to the revealed will of God. In other words, it is doing what you know to be your duty.
Second, the light in which you are to walk has several features:
- It must be you own light. That is to say, it must be the light God gives to you; what you yourself see to be the will of God concerning you. Are you walking in that light?
- This light will come to you in various ways. This light will come through the inward guidance of the Holy Spirit. This, as John, tells us, is “The true light that gives light to everyone coming into the world” (1 John1:9). That light has come to you. Are you walking in it?
- It will come through your conscience; that voice in your own innermost soul which tells you what you ought to do. That light has already come to you. Are you walking in it?
- This light will come to you through the Bible. Do you read and obey its teachings? If so, that is walking in the light.
- This light may have come to you through the lips of a precious mother, a praying father, a dear brother or sister, or it may be through the example of a son or daughter. Are you walking in it?
- Then more light has come to your heart through officers and soldiers. Are you walking in it?
- Light has been thrown on your path, as you know very well, from a hundred other sources. Oh, are you obeying? Are you living up to the level of your sense of duty? Are you walking in the light? If so, then according to the Bible –
- You will receive more light. The sure way to get a clear revelation of divine things is to be faithful to the light already given; that is, to use the light you already possess. You remember the Savior said, “Whoever has” – that is that uses the light he has – “will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have – that is, does not walk in the light already supplied to him – “even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 13:12).
Perhaps the reason you know so little about God and eternal things arises from the fact that you make so little use of the light you possess.
On another occasion the Savior said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12). You know that if a man could closely follow the sun on its journey around the world, he would have the light of the sun shining on him all the time. The person who follows Jesus throughout the journey will have the light of the Sun of Righteousness shining on him all the time.
- If you walk in the light, if you do God’s will, so far as you know it, He will be a Father to you and make you His sons and daughters. You will remember that Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritismbut accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10: 34,35). That is it. If you will fear and obey God, as far as God has been revealed to you, and work righteousness, so far as you have been made to see what is right, and avoid the wrong, so far as you have been led to see what is wrong, He will put His arms around you and bless you, all the way through life and forever after.
- If you will walk in the light – that is, if you will obey God in putting away your sins, live in daily consecration to His will, fully and continually trust Him for a full salvation – you shall realize to the uttermost the cleansing virtue of the blessed sacrifice, and prove for yourself the truth of these wonderful words, “the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
- Walking in the light will bring the still further blessing of communion with the Father. Like Enoch, you shall walk and talk with God.
What are you doing, my comrades, with the light God has already given you? Surely, you are not shutting your eyes to it, and acting in opposition to its claims? I hope not!
Perhaps there is a backslider, or someone who has refused to walk in the light, until God has been provoked to withdraw it. Some unfaithful wanderer, with whom the light once enjoyed has become darkness, and who in that darkness is groping his way down to the world of despair! If this should be so, let me entreat that poor darkened soul to come again to that Savior, who is still the Light of the World, and who will not only reveal to him the evil of his backslidings, but will take him to His bosom and guide him safely to the Land of Light and Glory, where he shall bathe his soul in the full rays of the Sun of Righteousness forever and ever.