Why is it that some Christians seem to be transformed by contact with Jesus Christ, but others are not? Some Christians, even Christians of long standing, still seem to be very much conformed to the world around them, even deformed in their views and outlooks. Yet all of them stoutly assert that they are Christians, that they too have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ. It is not strange that the world asks,
What is wrong? Why is this condition true? The secret, John says, is fellowship.
What is fellowship? In the Navy we used to say it was two fellows on the same ship, and there is a sense in which that is true. They do have something in common—the same ship. That is the basis of fellowship, for essentially this word means
to have all things in common. When you have something in common with another, you can have fellowship with that person. If you have nothing in common, you have no fellowship. We all have things in common. We share human life in common. Most of us share American citizenship in common. But John is talking about that unique fellowship that is the possession only of those who share life in Jesus Christ together. This makes them one, and this oneness is the basis for the appeal of Scripture: to live together in tenderness and love toward one another. Not because we are inherently wonderful people or remarkable personalities or that we are naturally gracious, kind, loving, and tender all the time—for at times we are grouchy, scratchy, and irritating to others. But we are still to love one another. Why? Because we share life together. We have something in common. We share the life of the Lord Jesus, and therefore we have fellowship with one another.