WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson XLIX) 02/11/21

Calvin goes on: The Apostle Peter’s words are: “All the early preachers spoke of this. Everyone who puts their trust in the Anointed One will have their sins forgiven through His name.”[1] However, indulgences bestow the remission of sins through Peter, Paul, and the Martyrs. “The blood of Jesus the Anointed One His Son cleanses us from all sin,” says John.[2] Indulgences make the blood of the martyrs an absolution for sins. “The Anointed One had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in the Anointed One we could be right with God,” says Paul.[3] Indulgences make the satisfaction for sin dependent on the blood of the martyrs.

Calvin’s conclusion. Paul exclaimed and testified to the Corinthians that the Anointed One alone was crucified and died for them.[4] Indulgences declare that Paul and others died for us. Paul elsewhere says that the Anointed One purchased the Church with His blood.[5] Indulgences assign another purchase to the blood of martyrs. But the writer of Hebrews says, “By one offering He has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” On the other hand, indulgences insist that sanctification, which would otherwise be insufficient, is perfected by martyrs. John says that all the saints “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”[6] Indulgences tell us to wash our robes in the blood of saints.[7] So which one is right? The Word of God is always right!

James Arminius (1560-1609) points to a Church trend that affords the preaching and practice of an unjust conception of the meaning of extreme of devout adherence to Church doctrines. It is a method by which certain theological subjects were interpreted with ecclesiastical phrases that do not fit the Scriptures. For instance, when we do our good deeds for others with gratitude toward God, it is a well-known fact that people are falsely told that they become heirs and owners of eternal life by doing these works.

This delusion makes them think, says Arminius, it is reasonable to follow the hypothesis that good works performance is not necessary. In this case, the Scriptures deny that a true conversion and good works’ performance form a prerequisite condition for justification. They base this on a passage from John, “But if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus the Anointed One, His Son cleanses us from all sin.”[8] [9] It is so easy even today for congregations who promote church ministries’ involvement to give the impression that this enhances our salvation. That’s ridiculous! The work needed for salvation is already done by Jesus the Anointed One on the cross and in the grave.

John Owen (1616-1683) speaks about removing our transgressions’ contamination. It applies to every sin. For instance, just as our clothes are considered unwearable because of stains,[10] in the same way, spots, smears, rust, wrinkles, filth, or bloodstains represents sin. Besides the defilement of our nature, which God purges,[11] He also takes away the discoloring caused by our thoughtless wrongdoings. The Scriptures tell us that “By one offering He perfected forever those He sanctified,”[12] and by Himself, He “purged our sins”[13] before He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.[14] [15]

Owen also comments on “Peace,” by it, we enjoy communion with God. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest;” and, “There is no peace” to them, “says my God, for the wicked.”[16] There is no peace, rest, or quietness in a distance, separation, or alienation from God. He brings rest to our souls. In the light of His countenance are life and peace. Now, “if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another,”[17]and truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus the Anointed One.” The person who walks in the Light of new obedience to God’s Word has communion with God. And being in His presence, there is fullness of joy forever.[18] There is nothing but darkness and aimless wandering and confusion when no such fellowship exists.[19]

John Owen proceeds: The third part of our wisdom is to walk with God: and to that requires agreement, acquaintance, procedure, strength, boldness, and aiming at the same goal; and all these are hidden in Jesus the Anointed One. The sum of which, in short, is this: — that the Anointed One paid the ransom for our sins, and fulfilled all righteousness for us, though we have no personal righteousness of our own, but are as contrary to God as darkness is to light, and death is to living, and universal pollution and defilement is to complete and glorious holiness, and hatred is to love; yet the righteousness of the Anointed One is not just sufficient but the only foundation of our agreement, and, upon that, of our walk with God. The Apostle John tells us, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the Light, as God is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus the Anointed One His Son cleanses us from all sin.”[20]

And our only acquaintance with God, says Owen, and our knowledge of Him remain hidden in the Anointed One, which no one can discover outside His Word and miracles. And He is the only way we can walk with God and receive all our strength from Him. He makes us bold and confident, too, having removed the guilt of sin. Now we can look justice in the face since all our debts have been paid-in-full by the Anointed One. And in the Anointed One, we become what God wants us to be, which is the advancement of His glory. I suppose, says Owen, it comes by trusting in how the Anointed One settled the debt with God and achieved righteousness for our salvation. Without doing anything ourselves, we make sure that God is not cheated out of the glory of His free grace, by competition of any merits and virtues of our own.”[21]

John Flavel (1627-1691) addresses whether or not believers are entirely freed from their sins’ guilt and will never again come under condemnation. O the unspeakable efficiency of the Anointed One’s sacrifice, which extends to all sins! Does not the Apostle John say here that the blood of the Anointed One cleanses from all sins, sins past and present, without exception? And some theologians affirm, original sin, in which all future sins are, like branches from the root, are pardoned; and if these are not forgiven, they will make void and invalidate former pardons. And lastly, it would deviate from the Anointed One’s complete satisfaction.

But most say, notes Flavel, and I think, honestly, that all the past sins of believers are pardoned, without revocation, all their present sins without exception. Still, not their sins to come. And yet for them, there is a pardon, which is applied on their repentance, and application, of the Anointed One’s blood so that none of them will make void former pardons. O, let these things slide sweetly to your melting heart, pleads Flavel. Even if your heart is so filled with despair because of sin’s guilt that it makes you cry out: How can such a sinner as I be pardoned? Is my sin too great to be forgiven? “Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world.”[22] Remember that no evil can survive the power of His blood. Do not forget John’s words, “The blood of Jesus the Anointed One cleanses from all sin.” This sacrifice brings God great satisfaction.[23] A little explanation here on the point Flavel is trying to make. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of being a sinner, born with inherent sinful and lawbreaking tendencies, and you ask God to have mercy on you, that involves original sin. Later, when you confess to the evil deeds that their lawbreaking tendencies drove you to do, you are addressing your current sins. Unless you repent as a sinner, there is no open-door to forgiveness of sin as a child of God.[24] However, once you are born again, if you break God’s laws, you go to Him as one of His children and ask forgiveness. You don’t start all over again as an unregenerate sinner.


[1] Acts of the Apostles 10:43

[2] 1 John 1:7

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:21

[4] 1 Corinthians 1:13

[5] Acts 20:28

[6] Revelation 7:14

[7] John Calvin: Institutes, op cit., Bk. 3, Ch. 5, pp. 693-694

[8] 1 John 1:7

[9] The Works of James Arminius: op. cit., Vol. 2, A Dissertation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, p. 211

[10] Job 9:31

[11] Titus 3:5

[12] Hebrews 10:14

[13] Ibid. 1:3

[14] Ibid. 10:12; See Acts of the Apostles 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1

[15] John Owen: Of Communion with God, op. cit., Part 2, Ch. 7, p. 217

[16] Isaiah 57:20-21

[17] 1 John 1:7

[18] Psalm 16:11

[19] John Owen: Of Communion with God, op. cit., Ch. 8, pp. 236-237

[20] 1 John 1:6, 7

[21] John Owen: A Vindication of Some Passages in a Discourse Concerning on Communion with God, p. 33-34

[22] John 1:29

[23] John Flavel: op. cit., The Fountain of Life, Of the Excellency of our High-Priest’s Oblation, being the first Act or Part of His Priestly Office, Sermon 12, pp. 150, 152

[24] See Luke 13:3

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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