Inspired, Empowered, Connected: “If” Means You Decide Fellowship With God and Others or Not?

First John 1:5–10 identifies the main topic of John’s letter. God is entirely goodness and truth, and those who choose to follow God cannot also follow evil and lies. John provides us with a number of “if” statements, comparing each one to the truth. Specifically, John mentions those who claim to be sinless like Jesus who never sinned. Such a belief is literally a falsehood opposite of the truth of God’s word. No person is sinless other than Jesus Christ.

Roman 3:23-24
And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

John 1 emphasizes Jesus as the eternal Son of God. John reaffirms he has personally seen and heard what he is teaching. The truth of God is always presented as “light,” while lies or false teachings are presented as “darkness.” Individuals who purposefully hold to the truth are saved from the consequences of sin which lead to death; Those who claim to have no sin are deceiving themselves from the truth.


John in this chapter is setting up the person to understand the consequences of sin using “If” statements to compare the negative and positive results that can happen when an individual chooses to make the right or wrong choice as they choose to live or not live by faith. He says if you do this wrong then there is a consequence but if you do this right there is a reward. In John’s first “if” statement, he states that if we claim to be in a relationship with God but we choose to walk in darkness then we lie to ourselves and others and we do not live in the truth of God’s word daily. Basically, this is a person who pretends to be a friend of God by trying to hide their sins from humanity thinking that God is not omniscient to see what they do in the dark. Comparatively, in the second “if” statement, John states that an individual who does not hide in darkness but chooses to live in the light God purifies with his precious blood through the confession of their sins to God resulting in fellowship with God and with others. This is a person who is an open book. They are integral, honest, and transparent. The person you see at church is the same person you see at work, at home, or at the grocery store. Good examples of this are the television evangelist who has been discovered to be living a double life pretending to be a follower of Jesus while hiding immoral sins. However, it also happens with everyday people who are not in the limelight.

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In the third “if” statement Paul mentions that when we live our lives as though we are sinless we deceive ourselves and God’s truth is not in us. An individual cannot claim to be a follower of Jesus and pretend that they have no sin because according to this verse the truth of God is not in that person which makes that individual a non-believer. This is basically what some people refer to as a fake Christian. But in the fourth “if” statement Paul mentions that If we can confess our sin to God then God is righteous and just to purify us and forgive us. Notice how all of these statements start with “if”. An individual must choose the path they want to follow. Paul is providing the consequences of what happens when you do what is right or wrong but the individual must choose for themselves which path they will take of their own free will. Confession of an individuals’ sins has always been recognized as a godly practice among those who turn to the Lord (Leviticus 5:5; 16:21; Numbers 5:7; Ezra 10:1) and has been recognized as a source of healing (James 5:16).

When individuals confess their sins they are reassured that God will forgive them. This action of humble repentance removes or blots out sin’s impact on fellowship with God and others. Notice that even though this passage of scripture in the Book of 1st John is written to believers, John mentions that those who confess sins are both forgiven and cleansed. He does not distinguish between believer or non-believer but rather says “those”. Though believers are forgiven at the point of salvation, there is also an ongoing sense in which believers need to confess sin and experience forgiveness and cleansing daily.

1: John 1:6-9
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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 cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Questions to Ponder:
1.  Which "if" statement describes your life right now?
2.  What changes can you make in your daily walk today to make sure you are following the correct "if" statement?
3. Do you understand that deceiving yourself separates you from fellowingship with God and others?
4.  Have you made it a habit in your life to confess your sins daily to God and ask for foregiveness?
5.  Is there anything that you need to confess to God right now to restore fellowship with God and others?
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