Walking in the Light

Joshua West

In the book of 1 John, the apostle was writing to a church that had been shaken by a mass departure of people who had been lured away by false teachers. They had lost friends whom they served alongside in church to gnostic teachers who believed that there was secret knowledge that some could obtain about God. 

John was writing this letter to encourage the believers who remained but also to rebuke the false teaching that had permeated the church. Isn’t it interesting that almost every letter in the New Testament was written in response to false teaching? Both Peter and Paul wrote about false teachers, the latter noting, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you…and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30, ESV).

To combat this, John wrote, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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” (1 John 1:5-7).  

One of the greatest differences between true teachers of the Word and false teachers is that the true believers will draw people to God; false believers will draw people to themselves and their own ideas. True teachers will only point to God’s Word; they won’t invent or add anything to God’s truth. 

Walking in the light, as John talked about, is evidence that we are walking in the truth. The term ‘walking’ is referring to our manner of living. We cannot live in God’s ways without living in the truth. 

This doesn’t mean that we’re living in certain ways to prove something to other people. Hypocrites do that. No, it means that our decisions are informed by the truth revealed in scripture and that lives in us through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we will only point to the Bible as our authority, not our own ‘clever’ ideas. People who let scripture inform all their decisions will be the ones who point past themselves to God.

Joshua West serves as the Church Leadership Network Director at World Challenge helping equip and empower pastors all over the world. Joshua’s desire is to raise up ministers who will correctly and boldly preach the word with passion and integrity. The point of all his work and writings is to preach the gospel, glorify God and to teach sound doctrine.