WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson LII) 02/16/21

Spurgeon then goes on to say, I cannot tell you the exceeding sweetness of this word “all,” but I pray for God’s Holy Spirit to give you a taste of it. Manifold are our sins against God. Whether the bill is little or large, the same payment can release one as the other. The blood of Jesus the Anointed One is as blessed and divine a payment for the transgression of Peter’s blaspheming as for the shortcomings of John. Our iniquity is gone, all gone at once, and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon as we lay ourselves down to sleep.[1]

John Lias (1834-1923) says that while we struggle to do God’s will for our lives, to free ourselves from the defilements of “negligence” and “nonsense” in our present imperfect condition, we risk falling into transgressions, which are sins of spiritual weakness rather than of deliberate rebellion. If our purpose is to be right with God, our will is to move towards purification; God is ready to forgive our stumbling. If we do not seek forgiveness, then we have resolved to “walk in darkness.” Sanctification from sin is a gradual process. But it rests on the life-giving properties of the blood of the Anointed One. When this is communicated to the soul, it frees it from the curse of condemnation in God’s sight and cleanses the will from the desire to sin. It inspires it with a yearning for holiness. It helps overcome the believer’s lawbreaking tendencies by confirming the purpose in its submission to God’s will.[2]

Reverend A M Hills (1848-1931) compliments the Salvation Army’s commitment to preaching and teaching holiness and sanctification in his day. Therefore, no church in the land would not be blessed and spiritually improved by sitting at General Booth’s feet. It is what he teaches concerning the relation of faith to sanctification by the Holy Spirit: “What is the faith that sanctifies? It is the act of simple trust that, on the authority of, “The blood of Jesus the Anointed One does NOW cleanse me from all inward sin and make me pure in heart before Him.” Thus, a believer can say with confidence, “I do here and now commit myself to Him, believing that He receives me and that He will evermore keep me holy while I trust Him.

When a soul thus trusts God, says Hills, will they be made clean in every case? Yes, if that soul has the assurance that they entirely renounce all known and doubtful wrongdoing and give themselves up to doing the will of God in all things. It implies trusting God for full cleansing according to God’s Word for believing that the work is done, no matter how they feel. They must hold on to this faith until the feeling comes. If we confess our sins, He is faithful (to His promise) and (to the suffering and agony of His Son, which purchased the blessing) to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.[3] [4]

Hills goes on to say that God will continually throw new light upon His guidelines, which He justly expects us to follow. Hill then offers this quote from Dr. Dale M. Yocum (1919-1987), a minister, scholar, and writer in the Church of God (Holiness), founded in 1883, who says, “To retain sanctification or cleansing, we must walk in the Light. As we keep this up, the blood is applied by the Holy Spirit. Refusing to walk in received and acknowledged Light brings condemnation. Knowing the way of holiness and refusing to walk in it is unjustified.”[5] [6]

William Shepard (1862-1930) speaks about how we must read each scripture in context and points out that reading the Apostle John’s epistle is especially true. For instance, in one place, he says that we have no sin, and in another that if anyone says they have no sin, they are liars. The same is true of teaching on holiness. There are some, says Shepard, that instead of teaching what opposers of holiness claim they do, they convey quite a different thought, and sometimes the very opposite. What, then, does our text in verse eight teach? Read verse seven above. Suppose a garment spotted with ink is put through a process that removes ink. When finished, how much ink would remain? If the cleaner added a note: “All ink removed,” would there be any reason to doubt?

On the same principle, says Shepard, then, if “the blood of Jesus the Anointed One cleanses us from all sin,” how much sin is left? If all the stains of sin are removed, is there any self-deception if a believer testifies to that effect? Of course, we would not advocate self-righteousness nor self-exaltation, but on the contrary, always put Jesus first and let everybody know that all we have and are is through the Anointed One, Jesus. Instead of saying, “I am saved” and “I am sanctified,” putting “I” first, say, “Jesus saved me” and “Jesus sanctified me.” Let the people see Jesus and not ourselves. We should not remain silent, but at the same time, magnify what the Lord has done for us. Give Him all the glory.[7]

Henry E. Brockett (1936-1994) writes concerning the blessing of the fresh revelation of the power of the blood of the Anointed One. He points to Christians like English religious poet and hymn-writer Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), writer on New Testament Holiness Thomas Cook (1808-1892), and Samuel Logan Brengle (1860-1936), teacher of Sanctified sanity, and many others have been led into the secret of the fullness of this blessing through faith.[8] In his own case, says Brockett, it was not the same. He entered in by faith on a different line of truth, namely, faith in the Spirit of God’s sanctifying work based on the crucifixion of the “old nature.”[9] People do not always immediately see the underlying unity between different but related truths of divine revelation.

As regards the truth of the blood of the Anointed One, however, Brockett felt hindered by the theory that the “cleansing from sin[10] related only to his “standing” before God as completely justified in His sight and not to any actual inner cleansing of the heart. As Brockett understands it; this theory does not teach that the Anointed One’s blood is applied to the believer’s heart at justification. As such, he was not able to see the glory of the fullness and depth hidden in that precious phrase, “the blood of Jesus the Anointed One His Son cleanses us from all sin.” He confesses that he is not the only one hindered in their spiritual experience by the limited interpretation of John’s words in verse seven.[11] Brockett’s confusion may be in his understanding of “justification.” We are only justified because we accept what Jesus did on the cross on our behalf to pay the penalty for sin. It is that faith in Jesus’ work upon which we ask forgiveness and cleansing of our sins. It certainly cannot happen earlier.

Reverend Mr. Beverly Carradine (1849-1910) says two meanings are buried here in this latter part of verse seven. To the regenerated person, it represents one thing; but O how much more it means to the Sanctified believer! First, it is the cleansing away of all sins, guilt, and immorality that is personal and pertains to the individual; to the second, it means all this and the utter removal besides inherited or inbred sin. The soul is made to rejoice continually in the delightful and blessed possession of the experience of a positive indwelling purity! Two meanings, both blessed, but one so much deeper than the other![12]

Arno Gaebelein (1861-1945) asks, “What is this walk in the Light?” It is not the same thing as walking according to the Light. It does not mean to live a perfect and sinless life. Walking in the Light is not the question of how we walk but where we walk, and the place where the believer walks is in the Light. It means to walk daily in His presence, with our will and conscience in the Light and existence of God, judging everything that does not respond to that Light. Whatever is not right is brought at once in His presence, exposed to the Light, confessed, judged, and put away. Such is the walk in the Light, which fellowship with God demands.

The result of such walking in the Light, says Gaebelein, is the mutual fellowship it brings among believers. Each one possesses the same nature and Spirit of God. The Anointed One is also the object of each heart before the same Father. It cannot be otherwise. Then, another thing is stated, “The blood of Jesus the Anointed One His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Walking in the Light shows us what we are, and we cannot say that we have no sin. Yet, because of the cleansing blood of the Anointed One it is possible to stand before a holy God with no consciousness of immorality troubling us. Nevertheless, we know that lawbreaking tendencies are still in us. Still, we have the assurance of being cleansed from any sin by His precious blood. The blessed position of a true Christian is fellowship with the Father and His Son. Therefore, walking in the Light, since He is the Light, and fellowship with one another comes through the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb.[13]


[1] Charles H. Spurgeon: Morning and Evening Daily Readings, op. cit., July 23 PM, p. 412

[2] Lias, J. J. First Epistle of John Homiletics, op. cit., pp. 47-49

[3] John 1:7

[4] Aaron M. Hills, Holiness and Power, op. cit., Part. 1, Ch. 15, p. 208, 

[5] Yocum, Dale M., The Holy Way, Schmul Publishing, 1984, p. 46

[6] Aaron M. Hills, ibid., Ch. 19, p. 262

[7] Shepard, William: Wrested Scriptures Made Plain, Ch. 1, p. 6

[8] 1 John 1:7

[9] Romans 6:6

[10] 1 John 1:7

[11] Brockett, Henry E. The Riches of Holiness, op. cit., Holiness and the Blood of Christ, p. 56

[12] Carradine, Mr. Beverly. Sanctification op. cit., pp. 83-84

[13] Gaebelein, Arno C. The Annotated Bible, The First Epistle of John, loc. cit. 

About drbob76

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