Fellowship with the Living God
1 John 1:1-2:2
Amazingly, the Bible tells us that we can have fellowship with the living God. Rich fellowship – bringing us “fullness of joy”. (1 John 1:3-4) When we believe in Christ, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to live within us and teach and guide us. If we are willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can have fellowship with the Lord and our lives can be a continual feast!
Scripture tells us that:” God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5b) And when we have fellowship with our good God, who is all light, Scripture says that we will be “walking in the light”. (1 John 1:7) And when we walk in the light, or when we have fellowship with our God and Father, we have joy and peace. Why don’t we Christians always “walk in the light” since it is such a joyful path? Why do dark shadows so often creep in and follow us? How do we get off the path so easily?
The Bible says that sin can get in the way of our fellowship with God. Scripture says: “If we say that we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6) If we have believed in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our sin isn’t going to take away our salvation. After we believe in Christ, if we purposely continue sinning, we are still part of God’s family. But our holding onto sin may take away our close fellowship with God.
God has a plan. Scripture says: “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) Confessing our sins before a faithful and just God brings cleansing and forgiveness. We will not be completely free of sin until we die and often, we don’t even recognize some of our sins. The Holy Spirit is working on us, and when we do recognize a sin, we are told to confess it in prayer and turn from it.
We often try to overlook our sin or make excuses for it. I have a problem loving some people. Especially people who treat me badly and people who try to tear down the Christian faith. I make excuses for my sin of hating certain people. But I can’t get around the fact that Scripture tells us to “Love and pray for our enemies” (Matthew 5:44) Without the help of the Holy Spirit, I find it impossible to love these folks. So, I need God’s help in order to be able to obey Him.
On many occasions, I have had to ask the Lord to give me His love for the person who was treating me badly or attacking the Christian gospel. And amazingly, He always answers those prayers. (I may slip and have to ask Him for His love again and again!) But He always supplies it again if I want it. God calls His children to live a life of love and to pray for our enemies. And He calls us to let Him deal and judge the person who is giving us trouble.
We are called to confess our sins when we become conscious of them and not make excuses. We humans sometimes boast that we can have fellowship with God while living in unrepentant sins. But we are trying to lower God to the human (sinful) level.
The Bible says that if we claim to be close to God while being determined to go on actively sinning, we deny the truth. Scripture says: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1;6) The Bible speaks often about the “truth”. But what is this truth? The Word of God, the Bible, is the truth. When we study the Scriptures, we can discover what is good and what is sinful. Our job is to trust and obey. That is the ticket! When we trust and obey, even though we are sinners, we can have joyful fellowship with the Living God.
But then there is another way we can mess it up. We humans sometimes boast that we can have fellowship with God by living a sinless life. If we can just be good enough, spiritual enough on our own, we can have fellowship with God. But we are all sinners and the Bible says that claiming that we are without sin denies the truth and makes God out to be a liar. Scripture says: “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us… If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 and 10)
It sounds confusing and impossible for us. But the righteousness of Jesus uniquely suits Him for His role as our Helper when we have sinned. Jesus is our eternal Advocate. Jesus fills us with His Spirit and covers us with His righteousness, and Scripture says: “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7b) His Spirit in us is changing us. God’s offer is for us to confess our sins and a faithful and just God will bring cleansing and forgiveness. No other religion on earth offers us anything like this. God is the real joy giver! There is no greater place to be on earth than in the presence of God.