“But if we are living in the light – just as he is in the light – we have fellowship with one another and the blood of his Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin” ( I John 1:7).
In the preceding verse (v. 6) we learned the consequences of claiming fellowship with God but walking in the dark. Now we learn the positive consequences of walking in the light. The sentence structure bears the same “If – then” sequence as in verse 6. The thought is expressed with clarity:
If (we walk in the light)
Then (two results)
we have fellowship in the church
we are purified by the blood of Christ
While it is interesting to note syntax, it is important only in that it helps us to understanding the meaning of the sentence. Words are a preparatory step toward meaning. The verse teaches that when we walk where God is (in the light) the result is fellowship. It is a transforming experience. It changes who we are, making us increasingly like him. That, in turn, transforms us into the kind of people who get along with one another. The second consequence explains how the first is made possible. Being purified by the death of Christ removes those obstacles that prevent fellowship among believers. It is God who has enabled us to love one another. Purified people forgive those characteristics that normally block fellowship.
Let’s go through the sequence again. Assume that there is some problem that exists between two believers. It should not be and here is the reason. If I am right with God (walking in the light because that is where he is) then I have been purified by the blood of Christ and that allows fellowship with God. We used to sing, “Noting between my soul and my Savior.” That relationship with God now expresses itself in our relationship with others who are walking in the same light. Both are purified by Christ’s death. Both have fellowship with God. There is no way that there can be a lack of fellowship between the two of them. If there is, the only answer is that one (or perhaps both) are not in a right relationship with God.
It is clear that differences do exist. In my experience through life I cannot remember a time when somewhere among the group were some that were at odds with others. That being the case, it follows that some were not walking in the light. Actions reveal relationships. God would have us all draw near and walk with him in the light. The result would be a rich communal fellowship that would draw others to Christ.