Walking in the Light, Fellowship
Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:9
Open your Bibles to Galatians 5:16, we are going to continue our study of what it means to walk by means of the Spirit.
We started last week with the introduction to the concept and we will probably conclude the introduction this morning. One of the greatest areas of confusion among pastors and theologians is in the whole realm of sanctification.
What makes this so confusing for many people is that about 90% of what people say is the same, but it is that small percent of the difference that is so difficult to pin down. When you listen to three, four or five people, they may all basically say the same thing, it sounds like the same thing. And yet, if you know what you are listening for, you will perceive a few things that will distinguish them one from another.
But, unfortunately, most people do not always understand these minor differences and they are not always minor. What we discover is that it is in the one or two or three distinctions between the different schools of theology that make all the difference in the world.
Let's have a quick review of what we covered last week regarding sanctification. We introduced the doctrine of sanctification which is a theological term that describes the Christian life. You want to have one word to hang that on, it's is the Christian life, the Christian walk. It is the unique dynamics by which the believer is moved from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in the church age. How is that accomplished? What are the means God uses to bring that about and what does it look like?
Unfortunately there is much confusion today about the ministry of God the Holy Spirit and how He relates to the believers life.
Last time we reviewed the various ministries of God the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer: efficacious grace, regeneration, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is not an experience but which takes place at the moment of salvation for every believer, the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, the sealing of the Spirit, the bestowing of spiritual gifts and the filling of the Spirit. That is a quick summary of what we covered last time.
When we get into this particular section of Galatians the Apostle Paul has been building an argument from the beginning of Chapter 3 related to the spiritual life. I want to remind you because it is important, and I am amazed at how often this verse is overlooked in the analysis of Galatians as a whole, verse 3 of chapter 3 Paul said, Are you so foolish, having begun by the Spirit are you now being matured by the flesh?
What that implies is that there is a way that looks like the spiritual life, an overt spirituality, let's say, that is really a pseudo spirituality and that is too often, what people do is confuse morality with spirituality. They do not understand that whatever the unbeliever can do is not part of the spiritual life.
The spiritual life for the church age believer is a supernatural way of life and demands a supernatural means of executing that spiritual life.
No one is asking, much less answering, the question, how do you distinguish morality, which is the product of the flesh, the sin nature, and spirituality? What is the essential difference? How can you tell if what is going on in your life is the production of God the Holy Spirit or simply the production of your own flesh and your own ability?
We begin our study in Galatians 5:16 where we have the mandate, But I say, walk by means of the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. This section is bracketed by two different commands which appear to be the same in English but they are different in the Greek.
In verse 25 we read, If we live by the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit. The word for walk in verse 25 is stoicheo, which means to follow in the track of someone, to follow in the path of someone, to follow in the footsteps of someone. So there is a slightly different nuance between the two.
Having begun our study last week we started off with the Doctrine of Walking. This is an introduction to walking by means of the Spirit and we need to begin by looking at the metaphor of walking that is used throughout the New Testament to describe the spiritual life.
First we looked at the basic words that are involved. We saw that there are four words, the two main words are peripateo and stoicheo. Two other words that are used in the Greek are poreuo which means to walk, to go about one's daily activities, to proceed and to travel, and orthopodeo which means to walk straight, to walk in a straight path.
The key word we are going to focus on, the primary word used in the New Testament for the Christian way of life is the word peripateo. It is the basic word used for physical walking but is also used figuratively or metaphorically for the conduct of one's life. The metaphorical meaning represents the entire panorama of a person's life, both the thought life and overt actions.
Let's think a minute about this analogy. I want to build on something I said last week, I did not go this far with it, but I want to expand it a little bit. Physical walking is one of the best forms of exercise. When you walk the circulation of your blood stream is developed, your breathing improves, there is an aerobic effect on your cardiovascular system, the regular elimination of waste is supported, and your heart muscle is strengthened.
Let's take those factors and develop the analogy to the spiritual life. First, when it comes to walking in the spiritual life all the muscles of the spiritual life, the stress busters which are spiritual skills, are worked out. So when you walk step by step in the spiritual life you are exercising all of the spiritual skills, you are developing the muscles of the spiritual life.
Secondly, the circulation of doctrine in your soul increases. The more you use doctrine in your soul the more you will develop the ability to utilize it. The less you use it the more you will lose it.
Third, just as physical walking has an aerobic effect on the body it has a spiritual aerobic effect in the soul, improving the inhale and exhale of bible doctrine. The more you walk by means of the Spirit the more you will be taking in the word of God and the more you will be applying the word of God.
Fourth, it will eliminate the waste of human viewpoint in the soul as you renovate the thinking in the soul and replace the waste of human viewpoint with divine viewpoint of bible doctrine.
Fifth, in the process, your soul will be strengthened or edified through the construction of the soul fortress which protects and defends the soul from the outside pressure of adversity and prosperity. There is a lot more we can do with the walking metaphor, but this gives you an idea of the many different ways the physical act of walking can help us understand the spiritual concept. That is peripateo.
stoicheo means to walk in a straight line and it is used metaphorically to mean march in step, march in ranks, walk in agreement with and walk forward in an orderly manner. It is used primarily for moving forward in the spiritual life following the mandates given in the word of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The second thing we saw when we moved beyond basic etymology was the central issue of walking in the scripture. It is one of the key terms used to describe the characteristics of the believer's life. The overall mandate is to walk worthy. This is repeated three times in the scripture and I find that whenever the Holy Spirit takes the time to repeat something, then we need to pay attention to it.
Walk worthy is mandated in Ephesians 4:1, Colossians 1:10, and 1Thessalonians 2:12. We are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called.
That is motivated by grace orientation. When we have grace orientation that means we understand the grace of God, that God has done everything for us, and we merely accept it or receive it by faith. As a result of understanding what God has done for us we are moved to gratitude.
In the Latin the two words are etymologically related, there is a connection between grace and gratitude. Out of grace orientation we are moved to gratitude for all that God has done for us and then we realize we should live our lives in a manner consistent with His plans and purposes for us.
For He saved us, as we shall see, for the purpose of the production of good works.
When we analyze the use of the word walking in the New Testament, there are three categories we can summarize from the various mandates.
1. We have the phrase en plus the dative of sphere. We are to walk in the day, Romans 13:13, or in the light, same concept, Ephesians 5:8,
and 1 John 1:6. Negatively, we are not to walk in the sphere of darkness, 1John1:7.
Our Christian life is to be in a certain sphere. We will analyze what this means later, but we just want to summarize the concept now.
2. We are to walk in the sphere of our newness of life, Romans 6:4.
3. We are to walk in the sphere of love, Ephesians 5:2 and 2John 6.
4. We are to walk in the sphere of good works. We were saved for that purpose according to Ephesians 2:10. That is divine good produced by the Holy Spirit.
5. We are to walk in wisdom, Colossians 4:5.
6. We are to walk in truth. 2 John 4, and 3 John: 3&4.
Negatively, we are not to walk in the emptiness of vanity, referring to the vacuum in the soul created by human viewpoint. We are not to walk in the emptiness of the mentality of our soul like the gentiles do, Ephesians 4:17.
We are not to walk in craftiness, 2 Corinthians 4:2. The Greek word is panourgia, which means deceitful cunning. The context refers to utilizing the word of God for our own personal gain, power, prestige, financial gain or personal approbation.
Unfortunately, that is true for many people who go into the ministry. They give in to the lust of the sin nature, and before long they discover they are in the ministry to improve their power over people, to increase the size of their bank account, to get approval from people, they rely on that feedback and they are constantly seeking approbation.
So, we are not to walk in deceitful cunning.
The next way this preposition en plus the dative in the Greek is used is to express instrumentality or means.
There are two concepts here, we are to walk by means of faith, this is the faith rest drill in 2Corinthians 5:7, and this is contrasted, not by sight, which is empiricism. This relates to the ultimate way in which we think. Do we base our thinking on the scriptures or do we base it on human viewpoint systems of knowledge such as rationalism or empiricism?
I am talking about the ultimate, the final basis for our thinking. Is the ultimate authority in our life the word of God or is it human experience or human thought.
When the word of God is more real to you than your experience, your feelings, what you have been taught in school, then you are beginning to understand what it means to exercise the faith rest drill.
The second is in our passage here in Galatians 5:16 and 25, and that is by means of the Holy Spirit.
So we have en plus the dative of sphere to describe the sphere in which we are to walk in light, in newness of life, good works, wisdom, truth, not in the emptiness of mind, craftiness.
Then we have en plus the instrumental dative of means, by means of faith, not by means of sight, and by means of God the Holy Spirit.
We have another prepositional phrase that is often associated with walking and that uses the Greek preposition kata which means to walk according to a norm or standard. We are to walk according to the norm of the Holy Spirit and not according to the norm or standard of the flesh, in Romans 8:4.
According to the standard of love in Romans 14:15.
And then negatively, we are not to walk according to the standard of men, 1 Corinthians 3:3, which refers to carnality and the unbeliever.
Not according to an unruly, disorderly or licentious manner, 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
And then Ephesians 2:2, Not according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, referring to the lifestyle of the unbeliever. Ephesians 2:2.
That is a summary to see how critical walking is in describing the Christian life.
In Galatians 5:16 walking by means of the Spirit is contrasted with walking by means of the flesh. Here is the point: throughout Galatians and the New Testament walking is used in one of two states, you always have this contrast between two states or conditions. One is in the sphere of the Holy Spirit or by means of the Holy Spirit, and the other is flesh.
But there are other words that are used. In terms of the spiritual life some other terms that are used are light, promise, faith and grace. These are all contrasted with darkness, law and antinomianism. Antinomianism means without law and it refers to unrestrained immorality or licentiousness.
This is an important point to understand because there are a lot of people who believe that because you have a sin nature you never do anything from a pure motive, so there is always a little bit of the sin nature involved in everything. You are walking with a little bit of light and a little bit of darkness. You have one foot on one side and one foot on the other.
Yet, what we see in the scripture is this stark contrast between two states. The question we are going to ask is, how much sin does it take to violate the righteousness of God? The idea that we are a little bit righteous, a little bit spiritual, and a little bit carnal does not take into account the nature of sin in relation to the integrity of God and its impact. We have to realize that the scriptures clearly identify two spheres or states in which we can live.
Now we are going to start a detailed analysis of the passages that relate to the believers walk.
The basis for the believers walk is his new position in Jesus Christ, Romans 6: 4. Turn with me now to Romans 6, a very important passage for understanding the spiritual life. In fact, other than Galatians 5, Romans 6-8 is the text that has the most significance in understanding the spiritual life. We don't have time to do a detailed exegesis of Romans 6-8. For context of the description in verse 4 we will look at Romans 6: 1-6.
Paul begins with a rhetorical question.
What shall we say, then, having discussed in Chapter 5 the grace of God in giving perfect righteousness to us, imputing righteousness to us on the basis of what Christ did on the cross. That despite our sinfulness and carnality, Christ died as our substitute, He paid the penalty for our sin. So if grace abounded so much when we were rebels to God and sinned, Paul is going to head the rationalization off at the pass with this rhetorical question. What shall we to say, then, are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? If we were sinners and we got that much grace, well, let's just continue in sin so there can be even more grace.
That is the rationalization, and I think that at one time or another each of us, if we are honest, has used that to rationalize and justify some carnality in our lives.
Paul says, may it never be! me genoito, which is one of the strongest negations in the Greek language.
No! He rejects that as being a totally invalid inference. The question he asks is, how shall we, as believers, who died to sin, still live in it?
We have to ask the question here, what kind of death is Paul referring to? Too often, people superficially jump to some simple solution, and the bible has many different categories of death. This is not spiritual death here, or physical death.
The categories of death in scripture are spiritual death, physical death, sexual death, positional death, carnal or temporal death, operational death in the life of the believer, and eternal death.
Which is it? Here we are going to see that it is clear from the context that he is talking about positional death which is defined as the believer's identification at the point of salvation with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We are positionally identified with His death so that His death on the cross is tied to and produces our separation from the enslaving power of the sin nature. This is positional death.
This is not talking about the eradication of the sin nature. There are those in Christianity who have looked at this and said that we have died to sin. They take the term death to mean cessation of existence. But the bible never uses death to refer to something that has completely ceased from existence. It is talking about separation. Even in physical death, it is talking about the soul separated from the body. The soul, the real you, does not cease to exist, neither the believer nor the unbeliever.
How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
One of the greatest heresies that has come out in the last couple of hundred years is the doctrine of perfection from John Wesley. The idea was that the believer was to experience a second work of grace after salvation, sometimes called the second blessing, referred to as entire sanctification. Those who accept this heresy believe that at the cross you are saved from the penalty of sin, you continue to live your life and at some point you have a crisis experience, a dedication, whatever, there are different ways in which it is described, and at that point you are elevated, you receive a second work of grace, and you are elevated to a higher plane, which is called entire sanctification. This doctrine was picked up by the holiness crowd in the United States in the middle of the late 19th century. So you have one step of grace at the cross, and you have second step later.
Then a group came along toward the end of the 19th century that said, okay, if you have entire sanctification then the third step is baptism of the Holy Spirit which is going to be signified by speaking in tongues. That is where the tongues doctrine came in and the first person to speak in tongues was Agnes Osmond on January 1, 1901, starting the 20th century. So you have three steppers, that is what they are called. Their big term is called entire sanctification.
In 1910 a Pentecostal pastor from Chicago came along and started teaching a doctrine called the finished work of Christ. He came out of a Baptist background and he said look, you get it all at the cross, the only thing that comes after the cross is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is signified by speaking in tongues, and these became known as two steppers.
Most Pentecostals are of the two stepper variety. Although today there are some three steppers and they are the ones who talk about entire sanctification. That is just a little historical background for you.
They tend to take phrases like 'you have died to sin' as a cessation of the sin nature. The problem is, that is not what this passage is saying in context. The concept of death of the sin nature is further described in the next verse, Romans 6:3. Paul says, Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, and there we have the very important phrase, the verb is baptizoin the Greek, plus the phrase eis and then Christ Jesus.
Every other time we see a reference to baptism, where the ultimate goal, which is expressed by the preposition eis, in Christ Jesus, it is a reference to baptism by means of the Holy Spirit and we have studied that in detail.
To briefly summarize it, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Baptist. He said it would be future. But in Acts 10 Peter refers to it as having already happened and so we isolate Acts 2, the day of Pentecost, as the time when baptism by means of the Holy Spirit took place.
When John the Baptist prophesied, and when Jesus also prophesied of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 1, they said that Christ would be the one who baptized by means of the Spirit, and Spirit was put in the instrumental case.
1Corinthians 12:13 says we have all been baptized, instrumental case, by means of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostals come along and say you have one baptism, that Christ does it in the Gospels, He will baptize you with the Spirit and fire, and then you have another baptism in 1Corinthians 12:13, which refers to the Holy Spirit doing it. This is a grammatical error, it is the same phrase. In the Greek it is en plus the dative of instrumentality of pneuma. Pneuma is the Greek for the Holy Spirit.
Now, as I have said before, impersonal means does not reflect upon the personality of the one involved. This is a problem we got into in an earlier generation that was fighting tooth and nail to preserve the doctrine of the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
Every time they saw a phrase like this they took it as agency, because the Greek category is personal agency and they said because the Holy Spirit is a person, it has to be personal agency. The mistake was, these are grammatical terms, not terms that reflect personhood.
A person can be the object of an instrumental dative, and the person is being viewed grammatically as the means by which the goal is accomplished. Christ is clearly the performer of the action of the verb in the prophecies in the gospels. He will baptize you, future tense.
In 1Corinthians 12:13 you still have that same phrase. This phrase is used when it says, He will baptize you by means of the Holy Spirit, or with the Holy Spirit, correctly by means of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospels it is en pneumati, the same phrase used in 1Corinthians 12:13, and we should translate it the same way. It is a passive verb, the subject is not stated in 1 Corinthians 12:13, so it is very clear the subject should still be Jesus Christ.
At the point of salvation Jesus Christ utilizes the Holy Spirit as the instrument for identifying the believer with His own death, burial and resurrection, the doctrine of Positional Truth. We should most accurately translate the phrase the baptism by means of the Holy Spirit. He is not the one who performs it, Christ is the one Who performs it and utilizes the Holy Spirit to identify the believer with His death, burial and resurrection.
Romans 6:3 says, Or do you no know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death.
The significance of baptism, as we have seen, is always identification. We have been identified with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, specifically in verse 3, the death of Christ.
Therefore, as Paul says, let's draw conclusions. We have been buried with Him through baptism, identification into death, in order that, now why did all this happen? We have a purpose clause here, there is a reason for this. There is a purpose for your identification with Christ's death on the cross. God has a specific plan and purpose for that identification, what is it?
In order that just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father so we too might walk in newness of life.
That is the phrase, the aorist active subjunctive of peripateo, and the reason it is in the subjunctive is because it expresses the contingency of the believer's volition. It is potential. You may choose not to walk in the newness of life that you have. That is why it is in the subjunctive mood, it is up to your volition whether or not you are going to walk the Christian life.
The purpose for your salvation, though, was for you to walk in newness of life. That is the basis for the believers walk, what happened positionally with us in terms of our identification with Christ. That frees us from the power of the sin nature in our lives and breaks its enslaving power as we see in the next two verses.
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, and we have, first class condition, so we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.
Because we know this, because we know a point of doctrine, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, again, this is a subjunctive verb, indicating the potentiality dependent upon on our volition, that our body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
That is the point, if the sin nature were dead and gone that would no longer be an issue. If the sin nature were limited or paralyzed in some sense, that would no longer be the issue.
Let's summarize this in four points. This is all under point four, the basis for the spiritual walk.
1. The basis for walking, i.e. the Christian way of life, is our identification with Christ's death. Positional death which happens at the instant of salvation. It is not a second work of grace. At the moment when you trusted Christ as your savior, whether you realized it or not, because it is not experiential, at that instant, the power of the sin nature in your life was broken. Now the issue is your volition. You can put yourself back under the power of the sin nature through negative volition and yielding to the temptation of the sin nature, but you now have the freedom to go in another direction. That is why Paul said in Galatians 5, it was for freedom that Christ has set us free.
2. Positional death frees us from slavery to the sin nature, according to Galatians 6:6, but it does not free us from the sin nature. You still have a sin nature. When your children trust in Christ as their savior, they still have a sin nature. When you have a sin nature you still have the capacity, the potentiality, to commit any sin that any unbeliever can commit. Sometimes you can do it longer and better because you are in reaction to God and it just sets a little more. Positional death frees us from slavery to the sin nature but does not free us from the presence of the sin nature until Phase 3 glorification when you are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord.
3. The potential is there for every believer but it is activated only by his volition. Whether or not you walk in newness of life is up to you. It is up to your volition. Whether or not you are going to utilize the power provisions of the spiritual life, the filling of the Holy Spirit and whether or not you are going to utilize the mandates of scripture, doctrinal orientation, as the basis for your life. The potential is there for every believer but it is activated, realized, only by your volition.
4. The goal or purpose is to no longer obey the dictates of the sin nature so that you can advance spiritually. That is the purpose. It is not so you can get away with sins. It is not so you don't have to worry about the consequences anymore, because you will have consequences. God promises that He is going to discipline you because He loves you. You are now in the royal family of God and He has a purpose for your life, and that is, as we have seen in Ephesians 2:10, to walk in the production of good works, works of intrinsic value. God will discipline you and do whatever is necessary to bring you to a point to encourage your positive volition. If you remain negative in carnality you will be taken out under the sin unto death and have a very miserable life. All of that is under point 4, the basis of the spiritual life.
5. The sphere of light in the believer's life. We are to walk in the sphere of light. Walking in the sphere of light. Let's turn to Ephesians
5:8. This is a very important verse and passage to understand the dynamics of what it means to walk by means of God the Holy Spirit.
Much of Ephesians, especially starting in Ephesians 4:1, the second half of Ephesians is dedicated to developing the whole concept of
the believer's walk. We are not going to do even a cursory summary of those three chapters, we are just going to look at the specifics
of the mandates.
Ephesians 5:8 states, for you (believers) were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
It is very interesting when you look at the Greek here. You have the phrase, for you were formerly darkness, and then in the second phrase, the verb is left out, that is called an ellipsis, the second phrase says, but now light. The verb is left out for emphasis. You were formerly darkness, but now light. The emphasis is on your present status. You are light. And then there is the present active imperative of peripateo, the command to walk as children of light.
This is crucial because here we learn that even though we are positionally light, because of our identification with Jesus Christ and our position in the family of God, we are called sons of light. Remember, we saw this term in the John series, when Jesus said He was the Son of God, the significance of that was that this is an adjectival phrase which doesn't necessarily reflect descent as much as, in the Hebrew idiom, it is an adjectival description. So that someone that was a rebel was called the son of disobedience because he was characterized by disobedience. Barnabas was called a son of encouragement, not because his father's name was encouragement, but because encouragement characterized Barnabas's life. When Jesus said He is the Son of God, He is claiming Deity. When we are called sons of light scripture is saying, you are light. This is your status, your position. This is who you are as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then there is the mandate to walk as children of light, which implies that you can not walk as children of light. In fact, Paul makes this clear back in verse 17, of chapter 4, he says, this I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the gentiles also walk, in the emptiness of their mentality, being darkened in their understanding, being excluded from the life of God.
In other words, Paul is saying quit doing that. No longer walk as the unbeliever walks. The implication is that believers clearly can live a life that is not discernibly different from an unbeliever because they are living in carnality and the power of the sin nature. This is very important because it establishes two categories of life.
In the positional category you are light which establishes the experiential category of walking consistently with your ultimate reality. Here we see the two spheres of operation, positional and experiential. You were formerly darkness but now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light.
Look at verse 9, which says, the fruit, that is, karpos in the Greek, the production of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.
This is a real quick summary of the production of walking in the light, parallel to what we will see in Galatians 5. The production of walking in the light is comparable to the fruit of the Spirit.
Here we see a parallel, that walking in the light and walking by means of the Holy Spirit are tantamount to the same thing. They have the same production.
Light represents absolute perfection in the scripture, whereas darkness represents all that has been tainted by sin. Light, in fact, represents the absolute righteousness and perfection of God.
1Timothy 6:15 &16: He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion!
1 John 1: 5 says, and this is the message we have heard from Him, and announce to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Darkness is completely incompatible with God's perfection.
This reminds us of the character of God, so let's go back and review the essence box. God is sovereign, absolute perfect righteousness, He is just, and He is love. We will focus on these three.
Remember what we have learned about the integrity of God, the righteousness of God is the absolute standard of His character, absolute perfection.
The justice of God is the application of His standards.
The love of God is the initiator within the essence box.
What the righteousness of God demands the justice of God executes. When we look at it in terms of sin, what the righteousness of God rejects the justice of God condemns. Think about this for a moment. When Adam and Isha were in the garden and Adam ate the fruit, eating a piece of fruit doesn't rank in most people's category of the ten worst sins, it is not like adultery, it is not like murder, it is not like mass murder or genocide, in fact, it would probably not be on the list of anybody's rank of sins. And yet, what it involved was disobedience to God's mandate. Therefore, it violated God's absolute perfection. It doesn't matter how small, how little, how insignificant how short in time a sinful act is, what matters is whether or not it violates the character of God. Any sin, no matter what it is, mental, overt, verbal, all sin violates the integrity of God and puts the believer in the realm of darkness so there is a break in fellowship with God. Because as 2 Corinthian says, what fellowship has light with darkness?
Now, let's continue our analysis here:
Point A was that light represented absolute perfection and represented the absolute righteousness of God.
Point B: we become sons of light at the moment of salvation, so that becomes a description of our position in Christ. We have positional righteousness, we receive the imputation of Christ's righteousness at the moment of salvation.
Jesus said in John 12:36, while you have the light believe in the light. That is the issue of salvation, it is not works, it is not baptism, it is not joining the church, it not having an experience, it is believing in Jesus Christ. Believe in the light in order that you may become sons of light. It is in the subjunctive mood because it emphasizes your volition, whether or not you believe in Christ determines whether or not you become classified as a son of light, which means to have Christ's righteousness.
Point C: we are transferred positionally into light. We have to trace these metaphors. It is so important to understand, we are going to see a fantastic one in the second hour. Just an incredible one that I don't find too many people are articulating because it takes so much time and effort, most pastors don't want to do that on a Sunday morning.
1Peter 2:9, but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
You have been called into light. That is your position as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and part of the positional reality you have in the top circle.
Acts 26:18 says, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the dominion of Satan to God in order that they may receive forgiveness from sins and an inheritance from among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.
That introduces the concept of inheritance, I skipped over it in Ephesians, but earlier in Ephesians 5 there is also a reference to inheritance, so inheritance is a crucial concept related to walking in the light and we will develop that as we get further into our study of Galatians 5.
We are transferred from darkness to light so that we can receive forgiveness and an inheritance.
Colossians 1:13, for He delivered us from the domain, and here we have the Greek word, exousia, which means authority or power. He delivered us from the authority or power of darkness, whether you realized it or not, when you were an unbeliever you were under the authority of and in the domain of Satan, the domain of darkness, no matter how good, how wonderful, how pleasing you were. The same is true for everybody you know who is not a believer, including your children. As parents you have a tremendous privilege and responsibility to be the ones to explain the gospel to your children, and you should begin presenting that, reading stories at bedtime from the scriptures and preparing the soil for the introduction of the gospel.
At the point of salvation we are delivered from the authority of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son.
All of this is to emphasize the simple point that positionally we are in the top circle, in the light. But not experientially, that follows following the mandate walk by means of the light.
Point D: scripture clearly affirms that believers still possess sin natures and still perform works of darkness. And even though they are sons of light, they can live in darkness. The bible affirms you have a sin nature even though you are positionally a son of light, you can still perform deeds of darkness. Romans 13:12 says, the night is almost gone, the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness.
Paul would not say let us lay aside the deeds of darkness if we weren't performing deeds of darkness. Lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Point E: Darkness and light are clearly seen as absolute, inconsistent categories. You are either light or darkness. You either walk in light or walk in darkness. But being in the light and walking in the light are not the same thing. That is important to understand when we get to 1John 1 that will be crucial to understanding that passage.
You are either light or darkness, that relates to salvation. You either walk in light or walk in darkness—that relates to the spiritual life. You cannot be walking with one foot in both. Scripture says, what fellowship has light with darkness? They are mutually exclusive, 2 Corinthians 6:14. How much sin violates the righteousness of God? Any sin violates the righteousness of God and has an impact on our relationship with Him. Sin destroys our fellowship with Him.
Of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who has the primary sphere of operation in fellowship?
The Holy Spirit, 2Corinthians 13:14, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
So first and foremost, when we commit sin, any infraction that violates the character of God, it breaks fellowship with the Holy Spirit who is perfect righteousness, because the Father and Son are also perfect righteousness, it breaks fellowship with the entire trinity.
The New Testament utilizes two different words to describe what happens to our relationship with the Holy Spirit at the moment of sin. The first is the phrase quenching the Holy Spirit. You quench a fire by putting it out.
This is found in 1Thessalonians 5:19. In the context they are commanded not to quench the Spirit. In verse 20 they are told not to despise prophetic statements. Now the immediate context of the command is you don't put out the Spirit because there is a relationship between the Holy Spirit and the giving of scripture and prophesy.
Prophecy has ceased now, we have the completed canon of scripture. The direct interpretation of that verse is that you quench the Spirit by ignoring or despising or treating lightly the mandates of scripture. In terms of application, you do that anytime you sin, you quench the Holy Spirit. 1Thessalonians 5:19.
The second phrase that is used here to describe the destruction of our fellowship with God is in Ephesians 4:30 where we read, do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. Grieving the Holy Spirit is an anthropopathism which is applying to God a human emotion in order to understand the policies of God. It is a human emotion which God does not possess.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
If we look at the context of that, let's go back to verse 28: let him who steals steal no longer, but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
So if we compare the various categories here, we see that various overt sins, mental attitude sins and sins of the tongue, are what grieve the Holy Spirit. We quench the Holy Spirit and we grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin and that moves us out of the bottom circle, from walking in the light to walking in darkness, which is referred to in the old English of the King James version as carnality in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. In the newer version it is referred to as being fleshly, operating in the power of the sin nature.
Let's make a couple of more observations on Ephesians 5 before we make a connection with 1John, another passage crucial in understanding light and darkness. You were formerly darkness, now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light. Then we have production in verse 9, verse 10 motivation, pleasing the Lord, verse 11 and do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead, expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light.
Notice the analogy there, light exposes sin. For everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, (a description of confession)
And arise from the dead, (that is carnal death)
And Christ will shine on you." (that is fellowship)
This is a quote from a popular hymn of the day.
Verse 15: Therefore [j]be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, again, we have absolute categories, you are either walking as wise, unwise or a fool.
And all of this ends up in verse 18: And do not get drunk with wine, [l]for that is dissipation, but be filled by means of the Spirit,
Notice the context of Ephesians 5: 18 deals with the metaphor of light and darkness, fellowship with God, walking by means of the Holy Spirit versus walking by means of the sin nature.
Now turn to 1 John 1:3: what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us;
What is he talking about? He is talking about fellowship. Specifically fellowship with God.
And indeed, our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
The emphasis here is that it is fellowship with God that is the basis for human fellowship.
1John1:4: These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 5: This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
See, by looking at these other passages, we have already established that fellowship with God is analogous to walking in the light. And there are so many people who will say walking in the darkness means an unbeliever. But we have seen that in the darkness, in the light, are positional. That has to do with salvation or the lack of it. Walking has to do with that practice, that experience in the bottom circle.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet, we are living in sin, any kind of sin, we are out of fellowship, we lie and do not practice the truth.
7: but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another,
See, you cannot have Christian fellowship with someone who is in carnality, someone who is out of fellowship with God. It is impossible. That is why churches have these fellowship hours and they bandy that term about so much, and yet, it doesn't stack up to what scripture says. In fact, most of the time, fellowship in scripture has to do with rapport with God and not social interaction among believers.
But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
This is the judicial function of the atonement. At the point of salvation you were judicially cleansed from all pre salvation sins. When you go throughout your spiritual life, every time you sin you do not die spiritually again. Why don't you die spiritually again? Adam died spiritually when he sinned. Why don't you die spiritually again? Because the judicial function of the atonement continually applies day in and day out. It is not experiential. I am not talking about experiential forgiveness, I am talking about judicial forgiveness. Because of judicial forgiveness, the blood of Christ continually keeps you from having to go through spiritual death again. That is eternal security.
There is a distinction that must be made between judicial forgiveness and experiential forgiveness. Judicial forgiveness, which happened at the cross, is the basis for experiential forgiveness. Experiential forgiveness is covered in 1 John 1:9.
1 John 1:8 says, If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
And then 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That is experiential forgiveness. There are a lot of people who are teaching some funny things about this. I am going to have to come back and spend a little more time on this in the next hour. I thought we would have time to get through it this morning, but we don't. It is too important to just run through. So we will wrap up and come back and talk about walking in the light and what this means.