Our staff is currently studying through the book of I John. The main theme of the book (according to the ESV Study Bible) is: “tests by which we can know if we are in Christ – beliefs and attitudes that authenticate one’s claims to be a Christian.” Martin Lloyd-Jones says, “the theme of this epistle is the position of the Christian in the world.”
3 key verses point to its theme:
- I John 1:4 “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
- I John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
- I John 5:19 “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
One question that came up early in our discussion was, “what does it mean to walk in darkness?” Verse 6 of chapter 1 says,
I John 1:6
“If we say we have fellowship with [God] while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
So, what does it mean to walk in darkness? The answer is found two verses later when John says,
I John 1:8
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Verses 6 and 8 are parallel verses, meaning, they are saying the same thing. Saying we have no sin (v.8) and walking in darkness (v.6) are the same things because they both have the same resulting effects. These are called deceitfulness in verse 8 paralleled with lying in verse 6 and then called lacking truth in verse 8 paralleled with not practicing truth in verse 6.
So, we can make this conclusion about what it means to walk in darkness: walking in darkness is living an unrepentant life (saying we have no sin). It’s living in sin and being unconcerned that you are offending a holy God.