I think I am finally winding down on this subject. This will probably be my last post on the controversy regarding rebound. At least for a while. (Unless the Lord moves me otherwise, of course.)
Anyway, I want to wrap up my contention that 1 John 1:9 is not directed to believers in the sense of something they are to do, but rather it describes something they’ve already done. That is, acknowledge they are sinners in need of a savior and believe in Christ, who then forgives them their sins and cleanses them from all unrighteousness.
Pastor Farley and Lighthouse Bible Church have been on summer vacation the last week or so, and in the interim I’ve gone back through my notes on Pastor Farley’s initial lessons on the matter of not finding evidence in the Bible to support the doctrine of Rebound. This time I looked up every verse, copied many of them down and gave a really careful, step by step look at everything that was said. In some cases I even re-listened to the original message.
I was also moved to read the information in my NAS Open Bible that prefaces each of the books. There I was surprised to learn that the Gospel of John and his three epistles were all written around the same time: about 90 AD. I also discovered there that I John was written with the presumption that its readers would have knowledge of the Gospel of John.
Therefore, I went to the Gospel itself and found that all references to light and darkness that John made there apply to believing in Christ or not believing:
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God… In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ~ John 1:1,3
Right there John tells us what the “light” is: Jesus.
“[John the Baptist] was not the light but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man. ~John 1:8,9
Note, the light comes into the darkness; the darkness doesn’t obliterate the light. The movement is one-way.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” ~ John 3:17-21
In John 8:12 we find,
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
In John 9:5
“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
John 11: 9, 10
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
Finally, in ch 12, Jesus is speaking to the Jews, who are arguing with Him, saying,
“We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, “The son of Man must be lifted up. Who is this Son of Man?”
Jesus therefore said to them, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.”
The Jews continued to not believe and to question and then
Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. …”
All of this clearly refers to salvation: walking in the light is a believer, walking or remaining or being in darkness is an unbeliever.
chapter 12 is the last time John mentions light and darkness in his Gospel.
So, with all this in mind, look how John starts his first epistle:
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen …concerning the Word of Life… we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins [say we do have sins], He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
To me, the parallels are overwhelmingly clear: walking in the Light means a believer; walking in darkness means an unbeliever. That is the context in which 1 John 1:9 is found, and thus, that is the meaning that ought to be given it.
Well, I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough, despite my intention to be brief — though, in the face of all there is to say on this, I think I have been. If this subject has piqued your interest and you’d like to know more, I invite you to check out Pastor Farley’s study on this, beginning with that first message “I Have a Confession to Make” and continuing on as he lays out the case verse by verse.
By the way, Pastor John Farley was a student of Col. Thieme’s prior to being mentored and ordained by Pastor Robert McLaughlin. Pastor McLaughlin was mentored and ordained by Col Thieme, himself).