And he begins this process immediately.  Having stated that the message of Christ strongly involved the supreme holiness of God, John at once insists that the children of God must conform to that standard.  He begins by posing a religious hypothetical: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him…”  This is a man who makes a claim at being religious.  All true Christians profess to have fellowship with God, for Christ’s very work was intended to restore the fellowship that we lost in Adam.  But profession and possession are not necessarily the same thing.  John would have us to be gravely aware that a man may profess to have fellowship with God, while still being a stranger to Him.  This brings to mind again the warning of Jesus, that there will be many at His judgment seat that professed to know Him, but to whom He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you…”  Of course Christ did not there intimate that He had no knowledge of their existence or habits, but rather that He never engaged them in intimate, personal fellowship.  Their conduct was unbecoming to a profession of His gospel, abhorrent to the holiness He requires.  Such a person was never in fellowship with Christ, for one cannot know the spotless Christ without becoming a sincere imitator of His virtues.

John here forever abolishes the notion parroted by some in watered down religion, which avers that all who pray the sinner’s prayer, or perform some equivalent thereof, shall surely be saved.  The message of the apostle is crystal clear, that there are many who claim fellowship with God, who are lying.  Whether this deceit is intentional or unintentional is not material.  More than likely it is in most cases unintentional.  They have been deluded by Satan into thinking that, because they had a religious experience of some nature, and observe some religious rituals, that they are members of the body of Christ, even though their hearts still love the same sins from which they profess to have been cleansed.  Their outlook on life has never been transformed, genuine repentance has never taken place.  They may be deceiving other Christians, but worst of all is when they deceive themselves.  He who walks in darkness, having never been changed from love of sin to love of holiness, abides in darkness, and has no fellowship with the God Who is perfect light, and in Whom no darkness whatsoever resides.