Read 1 John 1:5-10.
It is important to distinguish between light and dark, because we humans are not the element of light. As much as our culture would have us believe that we are good people who are wonderful stewards of our lives, the fact is that we are enshrouded in darkness, with that cultural lie being one of the many agents of darkness. I mean, seriously, if you think human beings are inherently good, just work at an apartment complex for a summer!
To get out of this issue, we need truth. We need some clarity. We need light, and God is that light. If you look at a fire, a lamp, a flashlight, etc., there is not one inkling of darkness in them. That is what God is like in terms of light. To put this in more practical terms, light and dark refer to holiness and sin. To be sure, there is no darkness, or sin, in God at all. James touches on this in chapter one verse seventeen. That is one reason we can rely on God to save us in the first place; he has no sin in himself at all.
That is why, if we say that we follow God when we have heaps of deliberate sin in our lives, we are lying. But now look at verse seven – if we walk in God’s ways and follow His will and listen to his Word, we have fellowship with each other. Why is that? Well, if we are caught up in darkness, we can only see ourselves since everything else is not lit up. This makes sense when you consider how selfish and prideful just about every sin is. When you are living in sin, you are completely living for yourself, just like the guy who wants to live with his girlfriend and avoid marriage or other serious commitments that require him to grow up. So when we actually do live with Jesus in us, we are loving others more-so than ourselves, like Jesus did. Paul talks about this in Philippians 2 when he tells the church of Philippi to, “…consider others better than yourselves.”
The other side of the coin reveals that Jesus Christ, in his death on the cross, atones for all of our sins and justifies us with his blood. For all sin. At all times. It specifies ‘all sin’, because even Christians are going to sin until they meet death. Therefore, if you say you are not sinful at all, John says you are deceiving yourself. Have any of you (probably girls) had a friend who had severe shopping addictions but was in total denial about it and wondered why she never had any money? That’s the kind of deception we are finding here.
From there, John then slips in the fact that we are devoid of ‘the truth’. The truth? What exactly is it about sinning, rather being in denial about it, that takes the truth out of our lives? When we say we don’t sin, we are saying that we do not need God. This is definitely not the truth. You may not outwardly say that, but a consistent, churchgoing ‘Christian’ who gets drunk every weekend says [with their actions] that the truth is not in them. Back in verse seven we see that Jesus dies for all of our sin. Jesus then rose from the dead three days after His death, revealing that he is God. Since he is God, he has no sin. We, on the other hand, have plenty of sin in us. Therefore, we need him to take away our sin so we can know him and be changed by him. We need Jesus every day. So I ask you: is the Truth in you?
Now before you start beating yourself up, understand that is what God the Father sent Jesus for. John goes on to say that if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins. Pay close attention, though, because John takes his previous statement about deceiving ourselves a little deeper in verse 10.
Not only do we live in denial when we think we are not sinful or we are not sinning when we really are. Not only is the truth not in us. More to the point, we make Jesus a liar by acting that way. Jesus is telling you that you need him more than anything, and that out of his great love for you he wants to captivate you from sin’s hold in your life. When you go sleep around, worship celebrities, get addicted to something stupid, or just plain ignore what it means to love and serve others, you are saying that your way is better than God’s way. You are calling God a liar, because you don’t need him if your life is without sin, which is the exact opposite of reality.
I can’t stress enough how much we need God. I also can’t stress enough how much God wants us. Usually there is a great divide where people think there lives fall in the spectrum of light versus dark and where their lives actually fall.