One of the key words for first chapter of 1 John is fellowship or koinōnia. The Word Study Dictionary describes fellowship as “right hand of fellowship,” and the pledge of communion. As disciples of Christ, we are to have fellowship with the Father and also with other believers. 1 John tells us that in order for there to be fellowship, we must walk in the light, because with God there is no darkness at all.
Now that is an interesting statement. In order to have authentic fellowship with the Father and other disciples, we must walk in the light and in truth. The Father’s Son made that possible by fulfilling the penalty for our sin through His death on the cross. All that is required on our part is reconciliation through admission of our sin, and repentance. We can have relationships with others, but the fellowship that is spoken of here requires walking in the light. And that is how we fulfill “the law of love.” And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’“This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37- 40)
Another question … can a disciple/believer have true fellowship with a non-believer? I think the answer is no if we use the definition that we just described. A non-believer can’t have fellowship with the Father because they aren’t walking in the light. We must conclude then, that if we, as disciples, want to continue to grow in our relationship with our unbelieving friend – we must share the gospel with them! Love must compel us to do so. So simple, yet so profound.
Sorry but one last question. If we don’t share the gospel with our unbelieving friend, what is it then that prevents us from doing so? May I suggest that there could be several reasons. Laziness on our part is a possibility; could it be possible also that we aren’t consistently walking in the light ourselves and just want someone else to “hang with” in the darkness on occasion? How selfish!
Those are certainly great questions to chew on….