1 John 1:6 states, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him [God], and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” God is light; there is no darkness in Him at all. The word fellowship in the Greek means to keep company and to partner with. So first, to fellowship with God means that we keep company with God. We spend time in His Presence through prayer, worship, and study of His Word. Secondly, to fellowship with God means that we have partnered with God. In the beginning, God made humanity to have dominion over the earth as managers who would give an account to Him. To fellowship with God means that we have yielded ourselves to God as managers through whom His will is done on the earth. We fulfill our stewardship when we walk in obedience to God’s Word and leading.
The Scripture says that we cannot have this fellowship of keeping company and partnering with God and walk in darkness at the same time. To walk in darkness is to walk in obscurity where there is no certainty or understanding. It means to walk in gloom where there is no joy or fulfillment. It means to walk in shadiness where there are ungodly acts practiced. The word walk represents a lifestyle of these things. For there may be times in a believer’s life when we are uncertain, sad, unfulfilled, or have committed an ungodly act yet it is not our lifestyle. For when we have fellowship with God, these things may come upon us temporarily but they will not stay. And if we find that we have been dealing with these things for a long period of time, then we as children of God are to examine our fellowship with God. Are we keeping company with Him? Are we spending time in His Presence? Are we praying consistently? Are we worshiping God regularly? Are we studying the Word of God continually? Have we partnered with God? Have we yielded ourselves as managers to do His will? Are we walking in obedience to His Word and leading? This self-examination will help us to maintain our fellowship with God and avoid walking in darkness.
1 John 1:7 states, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This verse speaks of walking in the light and having fellowship with one another. First, walking in the light means to walk in the knowledge of God where God reveals Himself to us and illuminates His Truth in our hearts. It also means to have a lifestyle of righteousness. Secondly, the phrase “with one another” is key for although the Christian faith is based on a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, it is also communal where all believers are considered to be the Body of Christ and the Family of God. As we walk in the light both individually and collectively, it causes us to have fellowship with one another as members of the same Body and Family. This means we keep company with one another in love and we partner with one another in service. We gather together in a worship service or a time of fellowship. We serve together when we go as a group into the community to share the Gospel and perform deeds of love.
Yet, this verse lets us know that the one thing that can cause a break in our fellowship with God and with one another is sin. When we have unrepented sin against God, it causes a break in our fellowship with Him. It hinders our keeping company with Him and it hinders our being a partner with Him to do His will. When we have unrepented offenses against each other, it causes a break in our fellowship with one another. It hinders us from gathering together in love and it hinders us from serving together as witnesses for Christ. So sin whether it is against God or against one another must be dealt with. The Lord Jesus dealt with our sins when He shed His blood and died on the cross. Hebrews 9:22 states that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Sin is forgiven when a spotless source has shed his blood for that sin. The Lord Jesus the spotless Lamb of God shed His blood for our sins and so He has secured the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that fellowship with Him can be restored. And when it comes to one another, it is our duty as those who have been shown mercy by God to extend mercy to one another and forgive each other so that fellowship can be restored. Ephesians 4:32 states, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”