To Say, But Do Not Is to Lie

by Spiros Zodhiates

Walking in the Light-Part 2

Editor's note: This is part two of a four-part exposition of 1 john 1:5-8

"If we should say that we are having fellowship with Him, and if we should still voluntarily walk in darkness which is sin, we are lying and we are not practicing the truth" (1 John 1:6 a.t.).

This verse begins with the suppositional conjunction eán, if, implying a condition which experience must determine, an objective possibility, and it refers to something future. "If [at any time in the future] we say that we have fellowship with Him"-that is, that we are His. This does not mean that we indeed are His. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, but we walk in the darkness [skótos , sin]," this is the voluntary choice of a sinful lifestyle, equivalent to being in the flesh (Rom. 8:4-9).

We cannot live sinfully and claim salvation. In that case, our profession is a lie (Rev. 3:9). The "not" in the phrase "we do not practice the truth" is ou (3756); and "do practice" is poioúmen, the present indicative of poiéo, to practice or produce practically the tangible principle of the truth (aleâtheia). The definite article "the" precedes "truth" which refers to what Christ stands for. Christ must be lived in our daily lives, for when we receive Him we are new creatures (John 1:12; 2 Cor. 5:17).

Pseúdos (5579), lie, stands as the opposite of aleâtheia, truth (1 John 2:21-24; John 8:44); hence the verb pseudómetha, the present indicative of pseúdomai, to lie. This means that we do not practice the truth and cannot claim that we have fellowship with God while we live a sinful lifestyle. In such a case our profession is a lie.

Conclusions:

1. It is possible that our profession of faith is a lie if we tolerate sin in our lives. What we do speaks louder than what we say.

2. We as believers cannot escape living in the consequence of sin (skotía) such as sickness and mortality, but we can live victoriously against sin (skótos, darkness).

3. We must differentiate between voluntarily walking in the darkness of sin (1 John 1:6) and stumbling as described in James 3:2 where the verb used is ptaío (4417), to do something wrong. "For in many things we [including Christians] all stumble" or do something wrong.

From The Epistles of John (1994), AMG Publishers.