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.

12Which came first: the chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old dilemma that metaphorically represents situations where it’s not clear which of two events should be considered the cause and which should be considered the effect. Spiritually speaking, we can certainly relate. Throughout history, humankind has sought to place works as the cause-agent for relationship with God. 1 John 1:7 should be examined closely, then.

The cleansing of sin in our lives is not the effect of our obedience to His commands. If we could cause or create such a wonderful thing, certainly Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross! The old covenant would have been enough. Rather, the blood of Jesus cleansing our sins is the cause which results in the effect John identified. God is the ultimate standard of holiness, a standard by which we fall woefully short. Those who truly possess fellowship with Him, those who are recipients of the New Covenant, will reflect His nature and character by avoiding sinful lifestyles and purposefully seeking fellowship with other believers.

Because of the shed blood of Jesus on the cross making payment for our sins, we make a conscious, continuous decision to live life in conformity with the revelation of God, who is light. When we live in the light, we have fellowship with one another. Fellowship with both God and other believers is made possible by Jesus, and then is experienced fully when we habitually align our lives with the nature and character of God. This is new covenant living!

• Why do you think it is such a struggle for many people to fully grasp that Jesus alone is the cause-agent for true fellowship with God?

• Understanding that Jesus has cleansed from all sin those who trust Him, how can sin still disrupt fellowship with God?

• Thank God for His light, Jesus Christ, who cleanses you from all sin. Ask Him to help you walk faithfully in that light so that your fellowship with God would deepen and that others might come to a saving faith in Jesus.