A precaution against coming persecution is the first, so far as we know, that has been made in Anglo-Saxondom.  The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States have prepared a bill to provide pensions for the wives and children of ministers who might meet the fate of Dr. Niemoeller.  Apart from the ultimate futility and inadequacy of such a measure, a precaution far greater and more powerful is our urgent need, and it is here:- “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP ONE WITH ANOTHER” - God and our souls - “and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1: 7).  Here is a precaution against all coming events which is open to us all, and a precaution of enormous value: something which is totally independent of all earthly circumstances; something which a million armed men cannot take from us; and something which guarantees us God’s best, whether we live or die* - nothing less than a close, intimate fellowship [in a “DAY” yet to come] with the Lord God of the whole earth.


[* Isa. 66: 8-14. cf 2 Pet. 1: 15-19; Rev. 11: 15; 20: 4-6.]






But this precaution first of all needs clarifying.  “If we walk in the light, we have fellowship one with another   Who have fellowship one with another?  Fellowship among Christians is a deep delight, and can be most blessed; but, while the verse can mean this, the grammar points to a fellowship infinitely more wonderful: “we have fellowship one with another” - GOD AND MY SOUL.*  It is blessedly true that in the last days believers who walk in the light will have earth’s richest fellowship one with another.  Dr. Candlish thus defines this fellowship:-  “We see all things in the same light: we therefore cannot but understand one another and agree with one another; and sympathize with one another and co-operate with one another But such believers, walking in the light, will grow rarer; and the fellowship of believers who walk in the darkness is a fellowship that heads straight into chaos.  The inner strife, we are told, has shattered the Confessional Church of Germany, and sundered friendships even under the same roof.  The fellowship here is that of which John has just spoken (ver. 3):-  “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ



* “Some understand the ‘one another’ of the saints.  That is a good sense.  But the contrast with the previous verse points to the meaning being fellowship with God” (Govett).  “It is not our mutual fellowship as believers that is meant.  The introduction of that idea is irrelevant and breaks the sense.  It is our joint fellowship with God,* and He with us, that alone is the purpose here” (R. S. Candlish, D.D.).  “Were the fellowship spoken of that between Christians, the pronoun ‘His’ would be inappropriate” (A. B.. Bruce, D.D.).


[* See Rom. 8: 17b; and note the fact that this is a conditional clause.]






Now therefore there rises on our vision a truth of incalculable importance:-  “IF we walk in the light”, God and we shall have fellowship one with another.  It is our walk, not our standing, that determines this issue: the conscious, daily fellowship with our heavenly Father is not merely the consciousness that we are saved, the assurance of salvation: on the contrary, it is a fruit only of an active walk in the light in which God lives.  All who believe are in the light; but now comes the command - “Ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph. 5: 8); for it is our walking in the light, and that walk alone, which produces the fellowship.  So John’s earlier negative emphasizes the truth.  “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth”: that is, walking in the light is not believing the truth, or even teaching the truth, but doing the truth: it is living God’s light.  As our Lord expresses it:- “He that followeth me” - not he that merely believeth on me - “shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” - the blaze of God (John 8: 12); and again, - “If a man love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM” (John 14: 23).






It is critically necessary to remember that we [regenerate] believers can “walk in darkness”.  In the words of Mr. R. H. Boll:- “It is the commonest notion that light once enjoyed remains forever.  We think we can never lose it, we can never forget truth once learned.  The fact is that nothing vanishes more quickly.  Light once received must be jealously guarded and treasured.  Play fast-and-loose with your convictions and presently you will have lost them, you will not know how.  You even come to wonder why you ever held them.  It is not only by memory that truth is held, but with the heart.  Not by contrary teaching, not by infidel-attacks, but by a gradual fading of the sense of its importance and authority does the precious truth depart from the disobedient soul.  The infidel’s argument may come in at the last to give it a finishing stroke, or it may not.  At any rate the light will have vanished.  The only way truth can be kept is by the use of it, by walking in it. ‘Walk while you have the light that darkness overtake you not,’ said the Saviour; ‘and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have the light believe on the light that ye may become sons of light’ (John 12: 35, 36).”*


* “Strict walking is much despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and the happiest.  He who yields a point or two to the world is in fearful peril; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah.  A little crevice in the sea-bank in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap speedily swells till a province is drowned.  Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul, and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins.  Things doubtful we need not doubt about; they are wrong to us.  Things tempting we must not dally with, but flee from them with speed.  Better be sneered at as a Puritan than be despised as a hypocrite.  Careful walking may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient recompense.” - C. H. SPURGRON.






What then is the light?  “If we walk in THE LIGHT, as he is in the light, we shall have fellowship one with another Light is a very wonderful thing.  “The characteristics of light are, on the one hand, clearness, openness, transparency; and on the other hand, inviolability - its taking no impression from anything it comes in contact with, but retaining and preserving its own pure nature, unmodified, unmingled, unsoiled, unsullied; everywhere and evermore the same” (Candlish).  It is a lovely and exact picture of God’s truth revealed in the Scriptures.  “The fruit of the light as Paul puts it - that is, the walk which is according to the light - “is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph. 5: 9).






Therefore we have the vivid picture of what, and what alone, produces fellowship with God.  A man who is walking is visible to all around: his walk is all the world sees of him: the world cannot read his heart, but it watches his steps, his gait, his whole carriage.  We are to walk in the light, as God is in the light: the light, in which God is, is His own pure truth, His holy nature; and we are to walk in that.  The Gulf Stream, says Emerson, will run through a straw if the straw is parallel with the current: so if we walk in the light, we shall shine with the light: something of God, who is Light, will radiate through us, and God and our souls will have a fellow ship of light.  Of Percy Ainsworth, an exceedingly promising young Methodist minister who died suddenly some months ago, Prof. J. A. Findlay says:- “He would be talking to me, when he would fall silent, and his face would clear.  After a moment or two his whole appearance had changed; he was like a man who had been away for a long holiday.  One evening I asked him where he had been?  He did not answer for a moment or two, and then he said, ‘What do you think [is] the greatest text in the whole Bible?’  I said then, as I should say now, ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest  ‘I agree,’ he said. ‘That’s where I have been.’”  As Matthew Henry said, the moment before he died:- “A life spent in the service of God” - there is the walk - “and in communion with Him” - there is the fellowship - “is the happiest life that anyone can live in this world






There is here a further lovely revelation.  Enclosed within the fellowship is the solution of the sin problem of the soul walking with God.  “And the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin  The believer who walks in semi-darkness, in twilight, can have an untroubled conscience, for he is blind, as a man is who is walking in the dark: a believer walking in the light, on the contrary, has to face the terrible disclosures of the light; and so, whenever necessary, obeys the command of the passage - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1: 9).  It is to [regenerate] believers that John says:- “He that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1 John 2: 11).  Thus known sin disappears from the soul that walks with God; and the unconscious sin of the old fallen nature is under the Blood of the Atonement.  “When I fall, I shall arise cries the Prophet; “he will bring me forth to the light” (Mic. 7: 8, 9).






So here is the masterly precaution against whatever the future may hold, and a precaution which it is open to every one of us to possess.  What a fellowship!  “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship ONE WITH ANOTHER When Enoch walked with God, he did not walk before, or after, God; far more wonderful, both walked together: so when God and a human soul have ‘fellowship one with another’, it is not only that we love and enjoy His fellowship, but that He loves and enjoys ours; He is conscious of it, and desires it.  Fellowship has been expressed thus:- “We are one in our deepest sympathies, in our most stedfast principles, in our most important aims, and in our highest aspirations; we are one in character, in service, and in destiny: hence our fellowship is genuine, vital and blessed.”  It is a fellowship of light that only becomes closer and brighter beyond.  “It is not darkness I am going toCharles Kingsley said when dying, “for God is light And the worst possible persecution only perfects the fellowship.  To a martyr who was being crucified his executioners said, ironically:- “We do this to bring you nearer to your God”; and he replied:- “You are doing it more successfully than you know So to-day’s fellowship ends in the fellowship of the glory.   For our Lord says:- “Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall WALK WITH ME in white, for they are worthy” (Rev. 3: 4).