Live Brilliantly - A Study In The Book Of 1 John

Day 2 of 10 • This day’s reading


Showdown | 1 John 1


In old westerns, you always know who is who by the color of their hats. The good guys' hats are white. The bad guys' hats are black. In 1 John 1, John revealed the difference between the good guys who walk in the light and the bad guys who walk in darkness. A spiritual showdown plays out, with God as the ultimate good guy. 

Light vs. Dark

First John 1:5 tells us that "God is light." Not a light and not the light—God is light. The original Greek indicates that God's essence—His very nature—is light. The effect of light is to make something visible; something that you couldn't see before is now illuminated.

John followed a positive, "God is light," with a negative, "and in Him is no darkness at all," to underscore that God is 100 percent light. The opposite of light is darkness, and John called darkness "sin" (v. 7). Sin is any outward action of disobedience or inner attitude of defiance. Sin is lawlessness, and John wanted to show us who the outlaws are.

Showdown with the Saints

Saints—believers—have a sin problem just like unbelievers. We Christians can walk in darkness. And in our sin, we can deceive others. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:6). 

Christians who walk in darkness are living a lie, and living a lie misrepresents the Lord and misdirects unbelievers. The light in our lives should attract the lost, not repel them. Few things are more repellant than living a lie.

By contrast, we can "walk in the light as He is in the light" (v. 7). The light John referred to is spiritual truth. When you walk in the light, you're walking in spiritual truth. When people watch you, do they see that you follow biblical principles? Your good works often reveal the biblical principles that you live by. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). 

Walking in the light has a socializing effect: "We have fellowship with one another" (1 John 1:7). People who are walking in light will seek out and find others who are walking in light. Walking in the light also has a sanctifying effect: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (v. 7). To walk in the light doesn't mean to achieve sinlessness. It means you have the opportunity for light to continually increase in you and cleanse you. 

Showdown with the Self

For believers, walking in darkness results in lying to others and, ultimately, to themselves. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Christians can walk in darkness yet convince themselves that everything's okay. In verse 8, "no sin" means "no sin nature." John was describing the person who denies that they're a sinner by nature. But the Bible says that we do, in fact, have a sin nature. Psalm 51:5 says that sin enters us at birth: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." 

You're not a sinner because you do sinful things. You do sinful things because you're a sinner. You were born a sinner; that's why you need a Savior. 

Showdown with the Savior

"If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:10). Walking in darkness results in lying to others, lying to ourselves, and, worst of all, lying to God about God. This increasingly destructive course of sin is what John was trying to prevent. He didn't want you to end up in a showdown with the Savior—and neither do I. 

The remedy, of course, is confession. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (v. 9). Confession means to say the same thing or to agree with God. Confession both cancels sin and cleanses the stain of sin. God's forgiveness removes the sin itself as well as the repercussions of sin.


As believers, we have an Advocate. "If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). An advocate is one who speaks in our defense. Jesus Christ the righteous is our defense. When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He paid the penalty for sin as demanded by God. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).


Lord, You are light. I want to walk in the light as You are in the light, have fellowship with others, and be cleansed from my sin. Lord, I ask that Your light would illuminate all areas of my life, showing me any darkness—any sin—that I need to confess. I thank You for giving me Jesus, who paid the penalty for my sin and who is my Advocate. In Jesus' name, amen.