By the time John writes his letters he is an older man. A little bit of the newness of Christianity has begun to wear off and some people have begun to slip back into their old ways. False teachers have come along and led people astray. John, one of the original 12 disciples, an eyewitness to the life of Jesus, sets out to correct this and does it by presenting for us several contrasts or choices. The first is light versus darkness. "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." (1 John 1:5-6).
One of the false teachings in John's day was that you could gratify all of your physical desires in whatever way you wanted because your body was going to die anyway. That teaching is still around; it has never gone out of style. Christians today are still tempted by that teaching. But like the college freshman who discovers he has the option to eat ice cream at every meal, we eventually face the consequences of our actions. Some are physical consequences, like the gaining of weight, and some are spiritual consequences, like deadening our spirits to what is really right and wrong. When we deaden our spirits to the truth of right and wrong, we refuse to repent when faced with our sin. We prefer to walk in darkness rather than in the light.
For reflection: "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).
Let us pray. Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to offer himself for my sin. May I always take advantage of that sacrifice and confess my sin. I want always to walk in your light. Please help me to recognize false teachings and to reject the lure of error and sin.