Sometimes, we follow things received by tradition rather than from the Word of God.
One of the most common misunderstandings of this Christian life is in relation to our sins and our fellowship with God.
We have been taught incorrectly about HOW to stay in fellowship with God. The effect of this misunderstanding is a continual inward anxiety over our performance and right-standing with the Lord.
A Confusing Tradition
A common verse used to support this error is found in I John 1:9. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.“
At the surface, this seems straight forward. It seems that, as believers, we must confess and ask forgiveness for every sin we commit after we are saved.
But the context surrounding this verse is deeper than that. It is about the difference between those that are saved and those who are lost. And how each group approaches sin differently. The above verse is really talking about unbelievers. It promises that a lost person will find forgiveness from his sins if he confesses them to Christ specifically and believes on Him alone for salvation.
Sinning in the Light
The truth is, all believers sin. And, although we do not have a license to sin, we sin nevertheless. In fact, do we ever really stop sinning?
Secret sins, habitual sins, presumptuous sins, sins of attitude, of complaining, of un-thankfulness, sins of commission and sins of omission. The list of sins we all commit daily is endless.
Even the life of a mature Christian might be better explained by saying that we are more aware of the sins we commit. And not less prone to do them. And older believer, having walked with the Lord for many years, does not see himself in some romanticized Christian light; instead, he sees himself as Paul did — “O, wretched man, that I am!“
This is consistent with the fact that we are now children of light. And, as such, we are sinning in the light. As opposed to sinning in the darkness — as those who are lost (See I John 1:5-10).
This light of the indwelling Holy Spirit makes us more aware of those wrong things in our life.
Two Fellows in a Ship
So that brings us to the question of fellowship with God. How does a Christian maintain this elusive fellowship with the Lord?
Bob George taught many excellent things about this. Better than most anyone else I’ve ever heard. And he commented about what “fellowship” really means.
Fellowship, he said, is “two fellows in a ship”. They are there and they are stuck with each other! (Bob died a year or two ago. But he still has all kinds of great stuff on YouTube. PS: Make sure you find the right “Bob George”; there are a couple of them out there) See the link below to go directly to Bob’s site.
A Common Misconception
The popular wisdom is that, when we sin, God leaves us and comes back to us based on our performance. On a good day, He is close. On a bad day, He leaves us or stays in the background. That is what we’ve been taught.
But, in truth, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. NOR do we ever get into a state of UN-forgiveness with Him.
IF we are born-again Christians, then we have Jesus Christ as our Righteousness (I Corinthians 1:30).
Just meditate on this wonderful fact. If we rest in the Lord, Himself, as our salvation, then performance-salvation dies away. It is not our holding on that is the issue any more; It is resting in His holding us.
Therefore, as believers, we do not pass in and out of some state of unforgiveness with Him. That would be totally contrary to the scriptures. We would then have to be reborn again each time we sin! Because the wages of sin is death. Not falling out of fellowship!!
That would mean we would die spiritually every time we sin. There is no other way around it when it comes to forgiveness. Sin and death are inextricably linked.
UNLESS . . . the Lord, Himself, is our Righteousness and our Sanctification.
So, then, how do we deal with the sin in our lives?
To Be Continued . . .
Image by John Hain from Pixabay