FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD  


 

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD


Once we understand the reality of our salvation through faith in Christ, the most important thing to understand is the issue of fellowship with God. Fellowship comes from the Greek word, koinonia, which indicates communion, rapport, sharing and partnership. The word, fellowship, then, entails all four of these factors and is used in the bible to indicate the experience of a quality of life that operates on the same "wave length" as God, accomplishing what He wants us to do here on earth, pleasing Him and being pleased in every area of life.

Romans 14:17-18,

"For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For he who in this way serves Christ
is pleasing to God and approved of by men."

Our salvation relationship with God is a family status given through the impartation of spiritual life. This "eternal life" involves the removal of sin's penalty which is spiritual death. Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." We are thus placed eternally into a right relationship with God in which we are viewed as righteous in His eyes, and we are made heirs of an inheritance which is reserved for us in heaven (1 Pet.1:3-5).

From the first moment of this new relationship with God, we are in fellowship with Him. Our trust in Christ has accomplished a redemption from sin's penalty as a total forgiveness of all sins both past and future. Eph. 1:7 says, "in Whom (Christ) we have redemption through His blood (His sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for sins); the forgiveness (release from debt) of our trespasses."

We thus, begin our Christian way of life (CWL) on the same wave length as God since we have just totally embraced His viewpoint concerning "sin, righteousness and judgment," the content of the gospel message that we believed (John 16:8-11), and He has totally accepted us as "righteousness" in His eyes (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As soon as we trust in Christ as savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside our soul and begins to work within us toward bringing glory to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We begin the CWL with the Holy Spirit filling us and controlling us. As we begin, in that very instant, "walking in the Spirit," for the very first time in our life the sin nature is not in control (Gal. 5:16) and as we thus "walk in the light" we experience fellowship with God (1 John 1:7).

Yet, that sin nature still resides in our body and it continues to promote its independence from God and darkness viewpoint within our soul.

Even though we now have a new desire to please and serve God, the sin nature is actively waging war with our soul to take us captive back to the old way of life. Paul describes it at Romans 7:14-23.

V.14,

For we know that the Law is spiritual;
but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to the sin (nature)

1. Of flesh: refers to the fact of living in a "physical" body and because of possessing that physical body, we also possess the sin nature.

2. Sold into bondage: refers to the condition described at Eph. 2:3,

"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh
(the body controlled by the sin nature),
indulging the desires of the flesh (the body) and of the mind,
and were by NATURE children of wrath even as the rest."

3. The sin: refers to the sin nature within the body. Every time that the word "sin" occurs in this section (except at v. 25), it always has the definite article (the) with it and should be translated "the sin" to indicate the "entity" of sin within us which wages a very real warfare against our soul (v.23).

In verses 15-23, Paul then describes the conflict that is raging within him as the sin nature wages war against that positive desire in his soul to please God.

V. 15,

For that which I am doing, I do not understand;
for I am not practicing what I want
(positive desire in the soul to please God),
but I am doing the very thing I hate.

1. What I am doing: refers to following the lusts of the sin nature.

2. I do not understand: communicates the frustration of the victory that the flesh wins even though Paul has a positive desire to please God.

3. Paul's new attitude which results from understanding divine viewpoint, wants to please God and hates anything that is contrary to God's standards.

V. 16,

But if I do the very thing I do not want {to do},
I agree with the Law, {confessing} that it is good.

This recognizes that the new standards in the soul accept God's viewpoint of good and evil.

V. 17,

So now, no longer am I the one doing it,
but THE sin (nature) which indwells me.

1. The "I" refers to the believer with positive desires to please God.

2. "The sin" refers to the sin nature which dictates to the soul darkness viewpoint in order to promote independence from God.

3. "Indwells me" indicates that we are talking about some kind of sinful force or inclination which resides inside the body.

V. 18,

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;
for the wanting is present in me, but the doing of the good {is} not.

1. For: explains the "indwelling" in the previous verse.

2. Nothing good: describes the character of the sin nature.

3. dwells in me, that is, in my flesh: indicates that this sin nature resides IN the body (my flesh).

4. And it is for this reason that very often the word "flesh" is used to describe the sin nature.

5. For the wanting, etc: describes the conflict in the soul as the sin nature dictates its lusts to the mind.

V. 19,

For the good that I wish, I do not do;
but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.

This amplifies the conflict, indicating that there resides in the mentality of the soul, a positive desire to please God.

V. 20,

But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish,
I am no longer the one doing it,
but THE sin (nature) which dwells in me.

1. This is not an attempt to deny personal responsibility.

2. It is simply the recognition that when the sin nature is in control, it dominates viewpoint and attitude resulting in sin.

V. 21,

I find then the principle that evil is present in me,
the one who wishes to do good.

This verse concedes again the existence of the sin nature which influences the soul in opposition to the divine viewpoint desire which is there.

V. 22,

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

This again states that there is a divine viewpoint standard in the soul which the believer has accepted and seeks to fulfill.

V. 23,

but I see a different law in the members of my body,
waging war against the law of my mind,
and making me a prisoner of the law of THE sin (nature)
which is in my members (physical body).

1. A different law: a different set of standards.

2. waging war: the very real warfare that exists in the soul between the Holy Spirit and the sin nature (Gal. 5:17) with the believer's self-consciousness right in the middle.

3. The law of my mind: refers to the divine viewpoint standards which the believer has accepted and is trying to fulfill.

V. 24,

Wretched man that I am!
Who will set me free from the body of this death?

This recognizes the frustration of the ongoing warfare and the need for outside assistance.

V. 25,

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind
am serving the law of God,
but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

1. The victory is through Christ.

2. He first accomplished the basis for victory by providing redemption through His payment of a ransom for sin.

3. Next, through the standards of divine truth, represented by the term, "law of God," we gain the offensive arsenal needed to shut down the viewpoint of darkness and avoid sin.

4. If we instead allow the "flesh" (physical body) to be the most important thing in our life, then through the "lusts of the flesh" we will serve "the law of sin" which is independence from God.

The victory over this "enemy within," involves two things.

First and foremost is our salvation relationship with God. Without being born again into the family of God it is impossible to live outside the controlling influence of the sin nature (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Secondly, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work within our soul promoting the viewpoint of God and seeking to keep us in fellowship with Him and following His truth. This requires that we "let the word of Christ abundantly dwell within us (Col. 3:16)" so that the Spirit will have divine viewpoint in our soul to use in fighting off the sin nature and its lusts. Gal. 5:17 tells us that the conflict within us is between the flesh (sin nature) and the Spirit.

"For the flesh (sin nature) lusts against the Spirit
and the Spirit (lusts) against the flesh;
for these are in opposition to one another,
with the result that you might not do the things that you desire
(positive attitude toward God)."

As we learn more and more of God's word, it functions as both a defensive support (belt of truth at Ephesians 6:14) and as an offensive weapon (The sword of the Spirit at Ephesians 6:17). Psalm 119.11 says,

"Your word I have stockpiled in my heart,
so that I might not sin against you."

The two "mights" in the above two verses indicate the choice that confronts every believer every moment of his life.

1.To fulfill our new spiritual desire to please God and let His word govern our attitudes and actions -

OR

2. To resist that desire and sin against God by violating his moral and spiritual standards.

Our protection against sinning is to have those divine viewpoint standards in our soul where they can combat the human logic and darkness viewpoint which comes our way, not only from the sin nature within, but also from the world around us and the devil himself. 1 Peter 5:7 says,

"Be balanced, be alert;
your adversary, the devil,
prowls about like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour."

V. 8 continues,

"But resist him firm IN THE FAITH (not your faith)."

"The Faith," refers to the sphere of divine truth that is available to us as members of the family of God, for

"He has given us everything that pertains to life and worship
through the full knowledge of Him"

(2 Pet. 1:3).

What then REMOVES FELLOWSHIP with God?

The principle is found at Isaiah 59:2.

"But your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
so that He does not hear."

Psalm 66:18 says,

"If I observe iniquity in my heart
The Lord will not hear."

Personal sin in the life; acts of disobedience to God's standards whether mentally, verbally or overtly, separate us from being on the same "wave length" with God. It breaks that rapport and communion - that fellowship with God. At Ephesians 4:30, Paul tells us to "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." Grieving the Spirit is when we actually cause sorrow to God the Spirit by violating His righteous standards and breaking off His filling/control. Paul also tells us to "quench not the Spirit" at 1 Thessalonians 5:19. We "quench" the Spirit when we express a negative attitude toward His word in general. In fact, as long as we are allowing the word of God to govern our soul, we are abiding in (fellowship) with Christ and with the Father (1 John 2:24). Furthermore, as we are abiding in (fellowship) with Christ, we cannot sin because the "seed" of the word of God in our soul is controlling us (1 John 3:9).

But we can choose to resist the word which immediately quenches the filling/control of the Spirit and we cease abiding in Christ. It is then and only then that we can commit an act of personal sin. We say "no" to the authority and viewpoint of the word of God and we place ourselves under the authority of the sin nature and yield to the sin temptations that are bombarding the soul.

It is this condition of "submission" to the sin nature which is often called carnality. Paul discusses it at 1 Cor. 3:1-3.

In this passage, the term "spiritual," refers to one who is walking under the filling/control of the Holy Spirit. There is no sin in the life and he is abiding in Christ, walking in the light.

The term "carnal," refers to one who is living in the flesh, under the control of the sin nature and walking in darkness. Paul says of such a one, that he is walking like "men." The issue here is imitation. To walk like men is to walk like an unbeliever, imitating the old way of life that you left behind when you trusted in Christ as savior.

At any given moment of the Christian's life, he is either spiritual or carnal; in or out of fellowship; walking in the light or walking in darkness.

We begin the Christian life "in fellowship" with all our sins (both past and future) forgiven as to the penalty for sin. But any future sins committed produce an experiential effect which breaks our fellowship with God and separates us from the blessing that He wants us to experience here on earth. Shortly after a person trusts in Christ and becomes a Christian, he will indeed, be tempted and give in to sin. This immediately puts him out of fellowship with God. If this condition is not mended, that new believer will be unable to advance in spiritual growth or to experience the blessings of peace and joy.

The solution is the grace provision that God designed based on the fact that Jesus died for all sins on the cross. Since Jesus died for all our sins, it includes the sins that will be committed in the days after our salvation. Accordingly, all we need to do is confess the sin to God the Father and immediately the sin is forgiven, we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, the sin nature is removed from control in our life and

the Holy Spirit again administrates His filling/control over our life.

WHAT EXACTLY IS CONFESSION?

The Greek word, "homologeo," means to "say the same thing." That means to agree with someone concerning something or to acknowledge something. The object of this agreement is sin and the person with whom we agree, is God. When we confess our sins to God, we are agreeing with Him that it is indeed sin, and violates His standards and policy. We agree with the fact that Christ has already paid for the sins and we accept its application to our present "temporal" situation. We reject the sin since God rejects it and we claim the fact of immediate forgiveness and cleansing from unrighteousness by faith in the promise of God. 1 John 1:9,

"If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Proverbs 28:13,

"He who conceals (retains) his transgressions
will not prosper spiritually,
But he who confesses and forsakes them
will find compassion (understanding and forgiveness)."

It is important to realize that this is not a mechanical recitation of your sin or sins. It is an acknowledgment to God based on a mental attitude that totally agrees with His viewpoint. If one retains an attitude of approval or "enjoyment" concerning his sin then a genuine confession did not occur. There is no forgiveness from God and the believer remains out of fellowship, under the control of the sin nature.

Another important factor is what John states as "cleanses us from all unrighteousness" at 1 John 1:9. There will be many times when one is unable to remember every sin that he has committed, especially as a brand new believer with many weaknesses carried forward from the old way of life. Sometimes we may not even know that a particular thought, action or speech is a sin until we are taught about it from the Bible. In the case of unknown or forgotten sins, it should be obvious that these cannot be confessed to the Father. However, when we are confronted with the reality of a sin or sins in our life by the convicting ministry of the Spirit as He works within us, and we confess the sin or sins to the Father, then, "He is faithful and just to forgive us" those sins. In addition, any unknown or forgotten sins are also "cleansed" at that time, for He will "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" along with the forgiveness of the known sins that are confessed.

The next factor is the issue of consistency. Sometimes a new believer will become concerned about the many times that he sins throughout the day and often the very same sin or sins are involved. This is a matter of growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The more of God's word we place within our soul, the more consistent will be our periods of NOT sinning. It is possible, as the word of God controls our soul, to go for hours, days, weeks, etc. without committing sin. And in the process the believer will enjoy consistently the wonderful beauty of the abundant life of peace, joy and inner confidence. John writes at 1 John 2:1,

"My little children, I write these things to you
SO THAT you might NOT sin."

It IS POSSIBLE not to sin. But when we do, we must not get discouraged and lose focus on our purpose for remaining here on earth.

"If we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous."

Jesus is our advocate because He paid for our sins on the cross.
Because of that, "He is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins" so that now all we need do is confess the sins to the Father as per 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 28:13.

Of course, He is also the propitiation (satisfaction) for the sins of the whole world and all they need do to benefit from that is to trust in Christ as personal savior to enter into a salvation relationship with God.

Let us therefore "encourage one another day after day,
while it is still called 'today'
lest any one of you be hardened
by the deceitfulness of the sin (nature)."
Hebrews 3:13.

 
 

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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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