Claim leads to corruption
The first consequence we see from the reality that John establishes (God is holy), is that false claims are destructive and corrupting to our life.
In v. 6, John writes:
If we say that we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not [practice] the truth.
John opens his hypothetical situation with someone making a claim of fellowship and relationship with God, the holy God from John’s message in v. 5.
Then he uses the figure of speech walk to depict a life in the darkness. The word used there was a common phrase to describe someone’s lifestyle. It literally means “to walk around” and carries the connotation of stomping grapes in a wine press.
He closes the verse by pointing out that not only are the person’s words corrupted (lie), but their actions are as well. The text literally reads “and do not the truth.”
Since John has established his message of God being holy, he can move on to draw a conclusion from or a consequence of that fact: Those who are living a life of sin cannot be in fellowship with a holy, sinless God. Sinfulness and sinless are not going to have fellowship.
The person in this situation, has all the right claims, all the right words, but their actions don’t back up what they are saying. They are walking around in darkness. Using John’s phraseology here, if you are walking around squashing grapes, what happens? Obviously, you get grape juice and “guts” all over your feet. You don’t leave the vat unstained. If you are walking around in darkness, the same applies. You are stained and have no fellowship with God.
Paul gives the same message to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 6:14, which says in part:
What fellowship can light have with darkness?
Everyone knows all the statistics about how poorly the words of Christians line up with the actions of Christians. The talk is godly, but the actions are worldly. 75% of Americans claim the name of Christ. Over 60% say that their faith is important to them on a daily basis. Does it look like it?
Just take one statistic and I’ll pick on my own. At the last count, there were 16.3 million people on Southern Baptist Convention church rolls. Of those 16.3 million, 6.2 million attended church. Where’s the 10 million?
Barna found that of the 23% of people who said it had been more than a year since they had attended a church service of any kind, 60% claimed to be Christian.
Something is not adding up. Our claims don’t match our actions. We need men, women, young people, Christians who will be like those in Acts 4:13 of whom the religious leaders “began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.” How about the believers in first century Antioch, where were living lives so much like Jesus that people started to mock them as “little Christs” or “Christians.”
We have enough people who say the words. We need people to live the life. Too many Sunday morning words don’t match Friday night actions.
We need those who will be different and live out v. 7.