• Joseph Durso

Authentic & Counterfeit Christians

The Cultural Christianity Series

After John explained the personal nature of fellowship the Apostles had with the Jesus Christ in chapter one; he goes on to write, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1:6) John's primary concern starting out is the person who claims to be a Christian when they are not one.

The proof of my analysis is in the phrase, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him..." The person in question is saying something that may not be true. They say they have fellowship with Christ, but they are walking in the dark, and the reality of their sinfulness has not become fully known to them. They are in the dark concerning their sin. Jesus contrasts the person who practices the truth to one who does live it. John 3.19-21. Jesus said, "The one who believes in Him is not judged; (because the judgment fell upon Jesus in his place. "...the one who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." Jesus is the only way of avoiding judgment and punishment, which hinges upon trusting Him to be rescued from God's righteous judgment.

Jesus went on to teach, "And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil." Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." He was light as the perfect teacher and the light as the sin-bearer. Furthermore, Jesus was the light when he rose from the dead, having conquered death, which proved His sinless life. The person who rejects the light by not receiving the light is rejecting Jesus. To reject Jesus is to trample underfoot the sacrificial offering of the Son of God. God the Father does not look favorably on such an act of rejection, pride, and rebellion.

Furthermore, "For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light..." Remember God says in His Word, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Therefore, everyone hates the light and does not come to the light. Hence, the only explanation for a person to come to the light is God intruding into a person's sinful nature.

Fear is a powerful emotion and equally is to be shamed, so it should be easy to understand Jesus' following words, "... for fear that his deeds will be exposed." As a general principle, no one wants their deeds to be exposed. In a safe environment, one may speak about their sins but that is very different than having them revealed. It is a natural deterrent to a sinful person that we all are.

Jesus concluded by saying, "But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God." We can understand the definition of forgiveness, but it is not as easy to put it into practice when a grievous act has been committed against us or a loved one. Academic knowledge and practice are not equal.

John learning from Jesus and having witnessed the defection of Judas was deeply concerned about his children in the faith. He wanted them to be authentic and not self-deceived as to their spiritual condition before God. There is no perfection in this life, but as a way of life, John could write to us, "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. " (1 John 2:3-5)

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