1 John 1:7a But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another
AMP: But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].
MSG: But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.
Isaiah 2:5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Psalms 104:2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.
1 Timothy 6:16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.
This is a contrast to verse 6, which discusses those who claim fellowship with God and yet walk in darkness. Those people are liars. But, if we walk in the light, as Jesus Himself does, then we have fellowship with each other.
The verb “walk” here is Strong’s #4043 and means much more than just sitting or standing around, but carries the idea of forward movement or progress. One can’t just be in the company of light and expect to experience the benefits. What is required is a active participation, forward motion – actively participating in the light. There is at least an implication here of personal growth.
It is very clear here that Jesus is to be our example for walking in the light. Jesus not only was and is light, as discussed in verse 5 but he also walked in, or demonstrated, how to live a life that reflects that light. The way Jesus lived his mortal life is to be our prime example.
But the verb translated here as “is” (he is in the light) is present tense, not past tense. So then Jesus not only set the example of living in the light while on earth in mortal form, He continues to set that example while no longer physically present here. How does that current, present tense example manifest? We know that Jesus doesn’t change. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. So the same types of actions that were visible to the biological eye when He was on earth – healing, compassion, sacrifice – these are the same evidences that are noticeable now, and were so at the time of this letter. So, when we are faced with a situation where we don’t immediately perceive what the “light” way of behavior should be, we can not only ask ourselves “What would Jesus have done in this situation,” but also, “What would He do in this situation?” Our God is not solely past tense.
The result of walking the light as Jesus does is fellowship with one another. This almost becomes a “duh” statement – if we are all following the same Godly example of walking in the light, then we are “naturally” together. This fellowship is much deeper than that experienced by a group of people who are together for a couple of hours to watch the same movie in the same theater. The practice of walking in the light, of actively participating and moving forward in righteous actions, brings about a fellowship that is much more than skin deep. It connects God’s people at a heart-to-heart level.
JFB: ALFORD notices, Walking in the light as He is in the light, is no mere imitation of God, but an identity in the essential element of our daily walk with the essential element of God’s eternal being.
JFB: Without having fellowship with God there can be no true and Christian fellowship one with another.