Letter on Subjects of Interest: Fellowship

1 John 1:7
London, 1871.
I have not the least doubt that the apostle, when he said (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)), “We have fellowship one with another,” spoke of fellowship with saints among themselves. There are three elements of Christian life. The first is to be in the light as God is in the light, without a veil. One must be found in the presence of God fully revealed. If one does not keep oneself there, one cannot be in communion with Him.
The second is, that, being in His presence, it is not with us the egotism of the individual, but the fellowship of the saints by the Holy Ghost, in the enjoyment of the full revelation of God Himself.
The third is, that we are white as snow, so that we can find ourselves with joy in this light, which only makes manifest that we are all that the mind and heart of God desires in this respect, that which our heart desires also before him. The idea is abstract and absolute, it is the value and efficacy of Christ's blood. It is not only the washing away of sin; there is an efficacy besides, which is not lost. My soul once washed, I am always before God, according to the efficacy of this blood. The washing away is rather by water, although in virtue of this blood. (See John 13, and the “red heifer.") But here it is the value of the blood in itself, and mark it well: “if we walk in the light, as God is in the light.” It is indeed a real state; but the apostle does not say “according to the light.” It is our position, now that the cross has revealed God without veil. As men interpret this passage generally, they ought to read, “If we do not walk according to the light, the blood cleanses us.” But it is not a question of any such thing here.
It is at the beginning of 1 John 2 that one finds that provision made, or what is necessary in case of failure. I do not doubt that the light searches us; but here God does not see evil, He sees the man cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
At verse 8 the consideration of acknowledged sin begins. No doubt the blood purifies us from everything, but when we think of the existence of sin in us, the knowing that the blood purifies us from everything, we are led to another gospel truth, namely, that we are dead with Christ. (Rom. 6; Col. 2; 3; Gal. 2) It is for practice, and is directed against the movement of sin in the flesh. If sin has acted, we are led to confess, not the sin in the flesh, but that which it has produced (1 John 1:99If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)); then we are pardoned and cleansed. This is true at the beginning, but true also in the details of life.
The different characters which Christ takes in respect to these last days are these-” the Holy and the True.” Yes, this is the character which He takes, what He wishes in His own, in their walk, when He shall come soon. We have to watch over ourselves, and over our brethren, that thus it may be. I feel, for my own part, that we have in these days to watch very particularly over this holiness, though it is always an essential thing for the children of God. Evil is in the world, but we are in the hands of God. Christ has entered after the evil, and gained a complete victory over him who was the chief of it; thanks be to Him! He holds in His hands the keys of death and hades; but the time has not yet come to take away the evil from off the earth. God uses it for our good, but the evil is there.