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Fellowship with God

Most often, the topic of fellowship is viewed as a matter of man's relationship with his fellow man.  The word fellowship denotes a sharing in common among two or more persons.  In some ways, everyone has some degree of fellowship with everyone else because all people share some experiences in common -- humanity, life on earth, death, etc.  In more specific ways, fellowship is more exclusive among persons of similar interests and backgrounds.  Fellowship among men exists in many categories, such as professions, education, and even hobbies.  Any way in which men can have a common interest, history, or practice can be an area for fellowship among men.

However, it is man's fellowship with God that is of greater importance.  From the beginning, man had fellowship with God when man was made in God's own image (Gen. 1:26-27).  Man's fellowship with God included the sharing of certain traits, including the abilities to think, reason, and speak.  Man also possessed a spirit in the likeness of God, whose essence is spirit rather than flesh (John 4:24).  Those likenesses still exist today, and man remains as "the image and glory of God" (1Cor. 11:7).

Sadly, the fellowship between man and God has been severed by sin.  When man sins, he no longer shares the necessary traits of God's holiness and righteousness, and thus his fellowship with God is broken.  The breaking of this fellowship first happened with Adam's sin (Gen. 3:6-7, 22-24).  Since then, sin has plagued Adam's descendants and created a separation, just as Isaiah 59:1-2 states:

1Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear.  2But 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.

Thankfully, God has made it possible for man's fellowship with Him to be restored through Jesus Christ.  By the knowledge, power, glory, and excellence of Christ, God has "granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2Pet. 1:4).  Concerning Christ, the witnesses of the Lord have testified of Him so that we can share their knowledge and enter into the fellowship with God.  This is the apostle John's message in 1John 1:3, where he says, "...what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

Fellowship with God through Christ is not merely a matter of knowing who Christ is, but rather it is also a practical matter of conducting ourselves in godliness after the manner of Christ.  If we are to have fellowship with God, then we must share in His holiness and righteousness.  Consider this message in 1John 1:5-7:

5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

In this passage, light is a figure for holiness and righteousness, and darkness is a figure of sin.  Thus, for us to have fellowship (share in common) with God, then we must be holy and righteous just as He is, and we must cease from sin.  If we live in holiness and righteousness, then we have fellowship with God and our fellow believers in Christ, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from the former sins that separated us from God in the first place.

Thus, our fellowship with God is restored through the forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ and our assimilation into the light of holy and righteous conduct.  This is reconciliation, which is the restoration of a friendly, peaceful relationship (Eph. 2:14-16).  Not only this, but also our fellowship is maintained through Christ, for even when we stumble, His blood cleanses us.  Notice that 1John 2:1-2 says,

1My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Furthermore, 1John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Do you have fellowship with God?  If you are walking in darkness (living in sin), then you cannot have fellowship with God, for there is no darkness in Him.  Don't deceive yourself by thinking that you can have fellowship with God while you remain in sin or that you have no sin at all.  Instead, obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, and be reconciled to the fellowship of God.

Stacey E. Durham



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