Fellowship with Him
"GOD is light" means simply that GOD is instructive and enlightening. As an example, if we were sitting in a dark room, we might not understand what was happening around us, but if we turn on the light, we understand and are enlightened. Being in the light is being in fellowship with GOD.
GOD is light and as such HE can let one know what is going on around him and what lies ahead for him.
PSALM 119:105 Thy word [GOD's word] is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
HIS word can be a light unto our path. HE can let us know which way we should go, what pitfalls lie in our paths, which is the smooth road and which is the rough road to follow. As Yeshua warned His followers,
JOHN 12:35 ....Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
Walking is a lot like fellowshipping, something we are continually doing. The crucial question is, are we fellowshipping with light or are we fellowshipping with darkness (PROVERBS 4:18-19)? Take a street lamp as an example. Right underneath it you find the greatest intensity of light. So it is with GOD. The closer you are to GOD, the brighter the light. As such, when you begin to distance yourself from the light, everything gradually grows darker.
Howbeit, in walking away from the light, there is no magic line that we cross over where we're in darkness. Instead, the farther away from that streetlight we walk, the dimmer and darker our surroundings. Eventually we may go into absolute darkness, but there is no one step as such, into darkness.
It's not like, I'm here in the light, but if I take one wrong step over there, I'm in darkness. That's not it! Rather it's a gradual walk away from the light that could eventually deliver us into darkness, and vice versa. As one gradually walks into the light, his fellowship grows tighter, and his path well lit.
As one is drawn to the light, this movement would be fellowshipping with HIM, who is light. On the other hand, if one is being drawn unto darkness, his action is literally called "fellowship with darkness" (EPHESIANS 5:11). We should suggest a couple of these turnings to our reader in 2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4 and TITUS 1:13-14.
Now, what is the key to remaining in fellowship with HIM? Well, it may be simpler then you imagine. As we will see in scripture, one maintains his fellowship with GOD as he "loveth his brother". Simply to love our brother keeps us "in the light".
Our fellowship is not dependant upon our confessions or our works, for confessions are often false (LUKE 6:46) and many works are anything but inspired by GOD (ROMANS 13:12). It instead has everything to do with loving our brother and that love is manifested by GOD-directed action. Action, which is inspired by GOD is the only true love.
True love is the love of GOD, not necessarily the love of man. If it could be the love of man, man could direct it, but it is not. Only those actions, those works which GOD directs, can truly be called HIS. Our works are only then truly loving when they are directed by HIM, otherwise they are dead (HEBREWS 6:1), or GOD forbid, evil (1 JOHN 3:12). Therefore, when GOD directs us to love (2 THESSALONIANS 3:5a) and we obey, only then do we move toward the light and away from the darkness.
JOHN 3:20-21 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
We will continue to be going through a great deal of scripture to see all these truths, so please bear with me.
1 JOHN 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
GOD is light, thus whoever HE sends is also a light.
JOHN 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
Before believing Yeshua (Jesus) to be the Christ (1 JOHN 5:1), we were sitting in darkness. Absolute darkness! Then a light sprang up, and we began to see. The more we saw, the more we understood and the closer our relationship got with our heavenly Father.
JOHN 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
In the light, we will not be as inclined to stumble as if we were in darkness. However, this walk requires action, not just words (JAMES 1:22). The whole point of having a light and a path to light up is to walk down that path.
1 JOHN 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
Just saying or thinking we are in the light is not going to cut it. We must walk in the light, in fellowship with Him, in order to "do the truth".
1 JOHN 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Now read this carefully! He writes that if we are in the light, we are in fellowship. GOD doesn't suggest that I am in fellowship with HIM simply because I have become aware that I have been in I darkness, or even because I confess my sin. No! Fellowship with GOD requires that we are in the light; so whatever it takes to be in the light is what it takes to have fellowship with GOD.
1 JOHN 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Sin is not something we might do that we think would embarrass GOD. Embarrassment is only peculiar to man. Neither is there some list of all that which is sin, and all that which is not sin. That's because sin is what happens anytime we do not obey GOD, anytime we do not believe GOD (ROMANS 14:23). In essence, the word sin (Greek, hamartia) means to miss the mark or to do or go wrong (The New Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
All of us have failed to always hit the mark of the bulls eye (ROMANS 3:23). If we ignore that truth we are only deceiving ourselves, not GOD, as 1 JOHN says. Butů
1 JOHN 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This confession means that we acknowledge our shortcomings, our failure to walk perfectly and therefore we have need for continued guidance. Notice it says that if we "confess our sins" we will be "forgiven" and "cleansed from all unrighteousness". Nothing is said in this verse about fellowship, broken or otherwise. Just because we acknowledge our sin and our shortcomings, does not necessarily mean we are in the light or in fellowship with GOD (NUMBERS 14:40-42). Let's not read into GOD's word what HE has purposefully left out. HE is now talking about confession, forgiveness and cleansing, not fellowship. A separate study of this will indicate that unrighteousness is linked with disobedience or unbelief, just as sin is (JOHN 7:18 ROMANS 4:20-24; 6:20; 14:23 1 JOHN 5:17).
Perhaps this is a helpful analogy. Let's say that a father is teaching his son how to hit a baseball. The father gives the boy specific instructions on how to hit the ball, "Keep your feet apart, don't grip the bat too tightly, keep your eyes on the ball," and so on. The father then throws the ball, but because of the boy's lack of experience, he swings the bat entirely missing the ball. So dad says, "That's okay son, we'll try it again, but you've got to keep your eyes on the ball". This continues with the father further instructing the boy on how to hit the ball and the boy swinging and missing it. Eventually the boy throws down the bat and exclaims in self-righteousness, "I did not take my eyes off the ball! You are wrong, this just won't work!"
Now, each time the father tosses the ball and the boy misses, it is literally hamartia, sin (missing the mark, failing to carry out prescribed instructions). When the boy is sorry and seeks further instructions, everything is fine; the father and the boy still have fellowship one with another. The boy's failing to hit the ball does not cause him to loose his fellowship with his father.
Nor does our sin cause us to loose our fellowship with our heavenly Father. However, the moment the boy's attitude of heart changed and he began to blame his dad instead of himself, then their fellowship began to evaporate. His father could continue to pitch the balls, but it will be to no avail if the boy turns and walks away, denying that he was the one who failed. The problem isn't that the boy missed the ball, but that his heart became hard towards his father's instructions (HEBREWS 3:15).
1 JOHN 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
GOD's will is perfect so any failure we may have in carrying it out has to be because of our own shortcoming, not HIS. Our sin is not what alienates us from GOD but rather a hard heart (EPHESIANS 4:18; blindness means hardness). It's not the actual sin that's the primary problem, but rather it's us failing to honestly recognize and acknowledge that we have sinned. This is what results in a separation between us and our Creator.
1 JOHN 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Notice that the relationship is still in tact, despite the sin. Sin doesn't separate us from GOD, hardheartedness does.
Then the third verse states, "And hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments". Yeshua taught that the greatest commandment was to love GOD, and then to love our neighbor ourselves (MATTHEW 22:33-39). It's in the obeying GOD that we come to know GOD. As we obey HIM, our walk continues in the light, and our fellowship abides in HIM.
1 JOHN 2:4 He that saith, I know him [Yeshua], and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
If we are not obeying our Lord by loving our brother, we are only fooling ourselves if we think we know Him.
1 JOHN 2:5-6 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
This perfection is not immediate upon our salvation. We undergo a gradual transformation as we walk in the light. This fellowship with GOD is maintained as we walk in the light (ROMANS 12:2).
This might be likened to two basketball players bringing the ball down the court for a lay-up. If these two teammates play together long enough, they will begin to know each other's moves almost like second nature. They wouldn't say, "Okay James, I'm going to pass it over to you now". If they did, their opponent would know and steal the ball, or at least interfere enough to break up the play. Maybe all it takes for them is a hand gesture or a movement of the eyes, but they just know how they are going to run the play because they've done it so many times.
So it is with our heavenly Father and us. The more we walk with HIM the more HIS working within us (PHILIPPIANS 2:13) becomes apparent, like second nature. GOD is as obvious and yet as silent as the sun.
1 JOHN 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
We may say that we are in the light, but if we hate (slight) our brother, we're in darkness. The qualifying factor is do we love our brother. It's always that simple.
1 JOHN 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
Stumbling, (Greek, skandalon) is like a trap stick, defined as "a crooked stick on which the bate is fastened, which the animal strikes against and so springs the trap" (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, E.W. Bullinger). There is no occasion whereby we would be trapped if we love with the love of GOD, because we're in the light and HE is illuminating our path.
1 JOHN 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Where are we going that we might stumble? EPHESIANS 2:10 states that the believer was created in Christ unto good works. Good works are those works GOD would have us do. Evil works are works of an evil nature. But too many are caught up with works of a different kind, dead works. Dead works are just that, dead! Dead in their true effect, dead in they're true profit. That's why a relationship with GOD is so vital. We have died unto the world and its dead works for self-righteousness or self-gain. Let us live unto GOD, as Yeshua encouraged His followers.
LUKE 18:29-30 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
We cannot find GOD just anywhere, but HE can find us everywhere. Nor is there any building that is the house of the LORD just as there is no corporate body where GOD is doing a mighty work, save only the Body of Christ. In this Body each member decides in his own heart if he will obey the GOD of the Scriptures, or another.
ROMANS 6:13,16-17 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Godů Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
What greater doctrine is there then to love our brethren! That is the course (2 TIMOTHY 4:7), that is the calling (COLOSSIANS 3:15), this is the race that is laid down in scripture (HEBREWS 12:1). It is not sufficient to say we love, or think we love. We must know, experience, and obey our Lord. That is true love!
It can be most unproductive to only think we love! We are not fooling GOD. HE knows! We may walk with the other believers and even sit at the feet of some teacher, showing much love with our mouths, but where is the heart? I can well imagine how deaf were the ears of the Prophet's congregation in the following passage, as they heard with hard hearts what "cometh forth from the LORD". Perhaps they too thought they were in the light, in fellowship with HIM.
EZEKIEL 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
Oh! how solemn, how grave a fellowship was theirs. "With their mouth they shew much love." I pray that if we are there with them, let us get out quickly, at any cost! Let us throw off the chains of covetousness and dance free in the light with the Lord. And if we do abide with Him, let's never forget to check ourselves, lest we slip, lest we turn from the light.
1 JOHN 3:16-19 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.