OSAS And 1 John 1:5-6

Q. In light of what you mentioned at the end of your article, “What does the Bible say” part 2, do you have a study that covers what is said in 1 John 1:5-6?

A. The article you referenced is about our security in Christ and 1 John 1:5-6 are not about salvation. Understanding what they are about becomes easier when we read 1 John 1:5-9 as a unit. We’ll begin with 1 John 1:5-7.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out 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, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).

Verse 6 is about fellowship with the Lord, which is different from salvation. This is confirmed in verse 7 where John mentioned having fellowship with each other. The Greek word translated “fellowship” in both places means “to have an association with, or be part of a community with someone.” It is never used to define salvation because you can’t be saved just by being in fellowship with saved people. To clarify this, John defined salvation as being purified from all sin by the blood of Jesus at the end of verse 7.

Being saved is eternal and unconditional, based only on our belief. Being in fellowship with the Lord is a continual closeness to Him that depends on maintaining Biblical standards of behavior in the here and now. (Being in fellowship with one another requires maintaining the behavioral standards adopted by the group. Ideally, churches follow Biblical standards of behavior as well.)

Remember, John was writing to believers. They were saved, just like we are saved. He was saying that to also be in fellowship with the Lord we have to walk in the light, that is, according to His word. Even if we’re saved, the Lord can’t maintain a close relationship with us if we’re walking in darkness (sin). This is the case with many born again believers today.

1 John 1:8 reminds us that we’re all sinners, and 1 John 1:9 tells us how sinners can remain in fellowship with the Lord. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

There is a study among the 139 OSAS postings that will give you more detail on the difference between salvation and fellowship. You can read it here.

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