I got up early this morning to go on a long run. About 5 miles in I was crossing the street in the dark and tripped over the sidewalk sliding on my hands and knees. Turns out there wasn’t a curb cut there to transition from the street back onto the sidewalk but I couldn’t tell that in the dark.My shoulder is a little sore and one of my fingers got a pretty good gash on it but I escaped mostly unharmed.
This reminded me of 1 John 1:5-10,
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 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. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Walking as a metaphor for life goes way back into the Old Testament (eg Psalm 1). What John is telling us here is the way to live a life in line with the message we have heard is to live a life in the light. Living in the light doesn’t mean we are perfect, “if we claim to be without sing, we deceive ourselves…” and yet we are still in the light. Living in the light is entirely an act of grace.
I believe this is one of the most graceful sections in the New Testament. Growing up, I really thought that if I sinned I was out of the light until I repented. John reminds us that being in the light doesn’t mean we are perfect and that any sin instantly takes us out of the light. No, we walk in the light because the blood of Jesus purifies us from all unrighteousness…not because we are perfect.
That is liberating…not liberating to allow us to sin more but liberating us from the rat race of thinking God will love us and save us if we are good enough.