First John 1:7 is a perfect verse presenting the extent of God’s grace for baptized Christians. God’s grace being by the blood of Christ includes the necessity of good deeds while not excluding Ephesians 2:8–9, which teaches that one is saved through faith and that the works of man do not save oneself. Remember that faith is as much a work as any other work like confession and baptism (John 6:28–29), and that faith without works is dead and faith without works is what demons have (Jas 2:17, 19, 26). Look at 1 John 1:7 closer:
“but” – This word is a conjunction that connects the pretext and presents what is an exception or what is contrary to the pretext. The pretext is: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” Therefore, verse 7 will present that which is contrary to walking in darkness, and that is that one may walk in the light.
“if” – This word presents the condition. This is the condition of man that is essential to receive the action in this verse of being cleansed of all sins.
“we walk” – This is the manner of conduct of the condition for the cleansing of all sins. Christians must walk to continue for remain in cleansing of sins. A work of God is required here of people to be cleansed of sins. This work is not a work made by man for which a person can boast of earning salvation. This work is set by God, and this is a work of God that man must walk in the light.
“in the light” – This is the sphere of the conduct — the way for which believers must walk. In other words, the path for walking is the path of light. Here is the extent of God’s grace for the cleansing of all sins.
“as He is in the light” – This is the standard of conduct. No one can walk as they decide, but they must walk as God is in the light. Walking in the light is according to His example and standard. Those being cleansed of sins walk after the works of God — not of man.
“we have fellowship among ourselves” – This is the resulting blessing of walking in the light. Christians have fellowship in that they share, partake, and commune with God and the church of Christ according to verse 3.
“and the blood of Jesus Christ” – This is the agent, the means, the instrument, the source of power for the cleansing action of this passage. The blood of Christ is the eternal agent for the grace of God. Christians are saved by grace through the redemption in Jesus Christ as a satisfaction through the work of faith in the blood of Christ (Rom 3:24–25). In Jesus, Christians have redemption and the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood, and this is according to the riches of Jesus’ grace (Eph 1:7). Christ’s grace and Christ’s blood are inseparable. The only way to contact the grace and blood Christ is by immersion in water in the name of the Lord (Eph 4:4; 5:26; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
“cleanses us” – This is the redemptive action of the agent, “the blood of Jesus Christ.” This cleansing is an assurance to everyone who meets the condition of walking in the light. The world must realize the need for cleansing, which the word “cleanses” implies. If the world knew that they needed cleansing, then they would seek and they would find. The first goal of someone teaching the Gospel is to convict the lost that they have sinned and that they need to be cleansed.
“from all sin.” – This is the extent of the action, “cleanses”. Every sin is cleansed. Sins are not held against those walking in the light.
[*This post was influenced and modeled from Guy N. Woods sermon on the Security of Believers.]