Living to magnify Jesus Christ. Disciple, Husband, Father, Pastor. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
User since 2015
Sam's proficiency badges
Sam's published pages
view all (3 total)
The light of a true Christian
1 John 1:5-10
Discerning the claims of a professing Christian: How do we spot the difference between a true Christian and a fake one?
Audio from the author
#hypocrisy
#truechristians
#walkinthelight
Published November 23rd, 2015; Updated November 25th, 2015
Share / Groups / About Author
An arc of 1 John 1:5-10
“If Christianity is true, why is the church full of hypocrites?” A sentiment, generally spoken by those who want little to do with God because they’ve been scarred by the hypocrisy of people who claim to worship Him. This isn’t a new problem! Jesus saved His sternest rebukes for men who claimed to worship God but lived as hypocrites. He called them “White washed tombs” , saying, “You outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of lawlessness and hypocrisy.” Jesus lamented that such people won’t enter the kingdom of heaven and their behaviour prevents others from entering too. Maybe you’ve seen hypocrisy in the lives of people who attend church and you’ve resolved, “I want nothing to do with God, I don’t want to become like them!” I don’t blame you! But I urge you, before you close the door to a relationship with God, consider these words from Jesus, who said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father...” You see, within the places and gatherings we call “church”, you’ll find authentic followers of Jesus and you’ll also encounter those who claim to follow Jesus, yet for whom it’s all an act! Jesus desires that nothing would hinder you from knowing Him and following Him, and so, He has spoken through a man called John to address the issue of hypocrisy within the church. John’s teaching amounts to something very striking: If you find someone in the church who professes to be a Christian but is full of hypocrisy, you’re not looking at a true Christian . A brief explanation from 1 John 1:5-10.... Verse six speaks of two kinds of people, both of whom claim to have a relationship with God. First, those who say, “I’m a Christian” but walk in darkness. John says these people are liars; they don’t practice the truth and they’re not representative of Jesus Christ. Secondly, those who walk in the light. John says these people are true Christians; true representatives of Jesus. How do we discern who is who? We must ask this question: What does it mean to walk in darkness and what does it mean to walk in the light? Do we make the distinction by saying that a person who walks in darkness is a sinner, and a person who walks in the light is without sin? No, that’s a mistake! The Bible is clear, all people, without exception, sin (Rm 3:23). Rather, John teaches that we know a true Christian by how they deal with the sin in their life. In other words, we discern if somebody is a true Christian by looking at their attitude towards their sin . John lists three attitudes. Only one is the attitude of a true Christian. As I explain these attitudes, I encourage you to consider your own attitude towards the sin in your life..... In verse eight John speaks of people who tell themselves, “I have no sin.” John explains that such people “deceive” themselves. That is, they’re hypocrites, convincing themselves they’re better than they really are. John says of such people, “The truth is not in them” . In verse ten, John speaks of people who proclaim “I’ve not sinned” . Such a claim reveals the persons attitude towards God; they stand in complete disagreement to His Word, which confirms that we all have a sin problem. John says of such people, “[God’s] word is not in [them]”. In verse nine, John explains what a true Christian looks like. He says the person who knows the forgiveness and cleansing of Jesus Christ, is one who confesses their sin, and by doing so, walks in the light. If you want to spot a true Christian, don’t look for people who are without sin, you won’t find any! Rather, look for people who admit they frequently fall short of God’s standard and continually bring their sin into the light, in order that they’d experience forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of Jesus. A final challenge for you: Will you walk in the light, as God is in the light? Will you put hypocrisy aside by confessing your sin to Jesus and receiving the forgiveness and cleansing only He can offer you?
notes
1446326761301 1447775403 1448028978 “If Christianity is true, why is the church full of hypocrites?” A sentiment, generally spoken by those who want little to do with God because they’ve been scarred by the hypocrisy of people who claim to worship Him. This isn’t a new problem! Jesus saved His sternest rebukes for men who claimed to worship God but lived as hypocrites. He called them “White washed tombs” , saying, “You outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of lawlessness and hypocrisy.” Jesus lamented that such people won’t enter the kingdom of heaven and their behaviour prevents others from entering too. Maybe you’ve seen hypocrisy in the lives of people who attend church and you’ve resolved, “I want nothing to do with God, I don’t want to become like them!” I don’t blame you! But I urge you, before you close the door to a relationship with God, consider these words from Jesus, who said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father...” You see, within the places and gatherings we call “church”, you’ll find authentic followers of Jesus and you’ll also encounter those who claim to follow Jesus, yet for whom it’s all an act! Jesus desires that nothing would hinder you from knowing Him and following Him, and so, He has spoken through a man called John to address the issue of hypocrisy within the church. John’s teaching amounts to something very striking: If you find someone in the church who professes to be a Christian but is full of hypocrisy, you’re not looking at a true Christian . A brief explanation from 1 John 1:5-10.... Verse six speaks of two kinds of people, both of whom claim to have a relationship with God. First, those who say, “I’m a Christian” but walk in darkness. John says these people are liars; they don’t practice the truth and they’re not representative of Jesus Christ. Secondly, those who walk in the light. John says these people are true Christians; true representatives of Jesus. How do we discern who is who? We must ask this question: What does it mean to walk in darkness and what does it mean to walk in the light? Do we make the distinction by saying that a person who walks in darkness is a sinner, and a person who walks in the light is without sin? No, that’s a mistake! The Bible is clear, all people, without exception, sin (Rm 3:23). Rather, John teaches that we know a true Christian by how they deal with the sin in their life. In other words, we discern if somebody is a true Christian by looking at their attitude towards their sin . John lists three attitudes. Only one is the attitude of a true Christian. As I explain these attitudes, I encourage you to consider your own attitude towards the sin in your life..... In verse eight John speaks of people who tell themselves, “I have no sin.” John explains that such people “deceive” themselves. That is, they’re hypocrites, convincing themselves they’re better than they really are. John says of such people, “The truth is not in them” . In verse ten, John speaks of people who proclaim “I’ve not sinned” . Such a claim reveals the persons attitude towards God; they stand in complete disagreement to His Word, which confirms that we all have a sin problem. John says of such people, “[God’s] word is not in [them]”. In verse nine, John explains what a true Christian looks like. He says the person who knows the forgiveness and cleansing of Jesus Christ, is one who confesses their sin, and by doing so, walks in the light. If you want to spot a true Christian, don’t look for people who are without sin, you won’t find any! Rather, look for people who admit they frequently fall short of God’s standard and continually bring their sin into the light, in order that they’d experience forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of Jesus. A final challenge for you: Will you walk in the light, as God is in the light? Will you put hypocrisy aside by confessing your sin to Jesus and receiving the forgiveness and cleansing only He can offer you? notes 11447775404393
An arc of 1 John 1:5-10
NT
1 John 1:5-10
esv
mine
l This is the message we have heard from him
God has spoken to us
and proclaim to you,
and here is what He has said:
series
that m God is light,
He is light
and in him is no darkness at all.
that is, no sin exists in Him or can remain in His presence
ideaexplanation
n If we say we have fellowship with him
Therefore , if we claim to be a Christian (having friendship with God and being one with Him)
while we walk in darkness,
and we live in darkness
situationresponse
we lie
then we are liars
and o do not practice the truth.
that is , we're not practicing Christians
conditional
But p if we walk in the light,
But if we live in the light
q as he is in the light,
like God is in the light
comparison
we have fellowship with one another,
then we are true practicing Christians
and r the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
because as we live (continually) in the light, the blood of Jesus is working to cleanse us from all sin (rebellion against His ways).
ground
alternative
s If we say we have no sin,
To explain what light and darkness looks like practically , If we profess with our mouths that we have no unforgiven sin within us right now
we deceive ourselves,
then we deceive (lie to) ourselves
and t the truth is not in us.
(and the reason we deceive ourselves is) because God's Word does not abide in us (proving we're not a real, practicing Christian)
u If we confess our sins,
On the other hand , if we admit to having sin (that is, we bring our sin into the light)
he is v faithful and just to forgive us our sins
then God will indeed forgive our sin
and r to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
and remove all unrighteousness from us (making us more like Jesus: such is the life of a real Christian)
If we say we have not sinned,
But if we say we have never sinned at all (and therefore have no need of forgiveness or cleansing)
w we make him a liar,
then we disagree with God
and x his word is not in us.
(and the reason we disagree with God is) because, his Word is not in us (that is, we've rejected the truth of His Word which proclaims all have sinned, proving that we're not real, practicing Christians)
inference
Know that God is light, therefore true Christians are people who walk in the light by admitting their sin, that they may receive forgiveness and cleansing from God.
discourse
1446326761301 An arc of 1 John 1:5-10 1447941100 1448023187 NT 62 1 5 1 10 1 John 1:5-10 esv mine l This is the message we have heard from him God has spoken to us i1 and proclaim to you, and here is what He has said: i7 i23 series that m God is light, He is light i8 and in him is no darkness at all. that is, no sin exists in Him or can remain in His presence i9 i26 ideaexplanation 1 i27 ideaexplanation 1 n If we say we have fellowship with him Therefore , if we claim to be a Christian (having friendship with God and being one with Him) i2 while we walk in darkness, and we live in darkness i21 i31 situationresponse 2 we lie then we are liars i10 and o do not practice the truth. that is , we're not practicing Christians i22 i32 ideaexplanation 1 i28 conditional 2 But p if we walk in the light, But if we live in the light i3 q as he is in the light, like God is in the light i12 i33 comparison 1 we have fellowship with one another, then we are true practicing Christians i13 and r the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. because as we live (continually) in the light, the blood of Jesus is working to cleanse us from all sin (rebellion against His ways). i14 i34 ground 1 i35 conditional 2 i46 alternative s If we say we have no sin, To explain what light and darkness looks like practically , If we profess with our mouths that we have no unforgiven sin within us right now i4 we deceive ourselves, then we deceive (lie to) ourselves i15 and t the truth is not in us. (and the reason we deceive ourselves is) because God's Word does not abide in us (proving we're not a real, practicing Christian) i16 i50 ground 1 i51 conditional 2 u If we confess our sins, On the other hand , if we admit to having sin (that is, we bring our sin into the light) i5 he is v faithful and just to forgive us our sins then God will indeed forgive our sin i17 and r to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. and remove all unrighteousness from us (making us more like Jesus: such is the life of a real Christian) i18 i40 series i38 conditional 2 If we say we have not sinned, But if we say we have never sinned at all (and therefore have no need of forgiveness or cleansing) i6 w we make him a liar, then we disagree with God i19 and x his word is not in us. (and the reason we disagree with God is) because, his Word is not in us (that is, we've rejected the truth of His Word which proclaims all have sinned, proving that we're not real, practicing Christians) i20 i41 ground 1 i42 conditional 2 i52 alternative i53 ideaexplanation 1 i54 inference 2 Know that God is light, therefore true Christians are people who walk in the light by admitting their sin, that they may receive forgiveness and cleansing from God. 1 1 1 1 esv 1 mine 1 a 2 discourse 11447941100181
Comments
Sam Douthwaite
Hi Christopher, thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I'm encouraged by your comments and I'm glad you found the page helpful.
Christopher Klein
At first glance, one might think that "walking in the light" means walking in the truth at all times, but your arc helps point out that walking in the light (ironically) includes acknowledging that we don't always walk in the light.  Also, your observation that, "We discern if somebody is a true Christian by looking at their attitude towards their sin," followed by the three kinds of responses toward sin that John points out in this passage, is very insightful and helpful.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.