Relationship Is By Birth, But Fellowship Is By Choice
We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3-NLT).
Fellowship is the mother of faith. Faith grows in the climate of rich, deep fellowship with the Father. Faith shrivels when fellowship is compromised.
Relationship is a result of birth or covenant, but fellowship is only by choice. Fellowship is a sharing together, a communion. Fellowship means that two people are coming together with like interests and are talking and doing things together with those interests.
Fellowship must be fostered on purpose. I’ve found that many believers lack the rich fellowship with the Father that produces strong faith. Our upbringing and home life in our younger years has a lot to do with how we process our relationship and fellowship with the Lord. If in our home life, we were not welcomed to bare our hearts, but felt forced to keep our opinions to ourselves, then fellowship from the heart will be a challenge to overcome even in our relationship with the Father.
Because God is Holy, personal sin can hinder our fellowship with Him. We were created to be able to fellowship with God as our Father. He loves us deeply and wants to be close to us. That is the entire reason God sent Jesus to the cross to cleanse our sins with His sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus paved the way for fellowship with the Father to be close. He judicially cleansed our sins by paying the legal price for them when He died and rose from the dead. For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:21-NLT).
Let me interject here that there are those today who preach that a believer never needs to confess his sin after salvation. The thought is that since the believer is in Christ, there is no more need to deal with sin at all. And, those who preach this say that this idea of confessing sin is negative and keeps the believer focussed on his problems rather than on Christ. Those who advocate this idea are looking only at our position in Christ and are not keeping in mind that we also have fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit, and He is grieved when we sin. To this idea I would simply say, look through the New Testament, and you will see Paul, Peter, John, Jude, James, and Jesus all urging us to flee from sin and judge it in our lives. And, the judging of sin in a believer’s life has to do with keeping fellowship with the Father strong and current.
When we sin, our fellowship is broken. The joy that strengthens us leaves. Peace is replaced by a troubled uneasiness. For fellowship to be renewed, sin must be confessed. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). To confess means to say the same thing. It means to agree with. When I confess my sin, I agree with God that the thing I did that broke fellowship was wrong. I change my mind or repent of the activity and make a choice not to do it again.
The weakness of my flesh may take me there again, but a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again (Proverbs 24:16). Confess the sin the moment you commit it, and then renounce it before the Father, and tell Him that you believe you receive the inner strength to overcome this thing. Thank Him in faith for removing this thing from your life. Confessing sin the moment it occurs is the key to remaining in constant fellowship with the Father.
Notice that if you do one thing; confess your sin, that the Father does four things in return! He will be faithful to you, just or fair to you, He will forgive your sin, and will cleanse you from unrighteousness. Cleansing from unrighteousness means that if you’ll confess what you know you did wrong, there is an automatic cleansing from those sins committed in ignorance, or because you didn’t know that particular thing was wrong.
This is important for the new believer who may not understand the will of God in all of life’s causes. James 4:17 reads:Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Once sin is confessed, joy and peace return, and fellowship is fully restored. Be careful today to remain in constant fellowship with the Father. Don’t let a moment go by without deep, rich fellowship with Him.
In my next blog, I’ll discuss how to begin a close fellowship with the Father if your personal predisposition is to hold back.