Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Great Grace: Broken Fellowship?

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 NKJV

We have been in an extended study of the great Grace of God. We have seen His Grace is greater than failure, and that because of Christ's Finished Work we are forever forgiven. In our last post, we addressed the controversial issue of confession of sins.

 Today we are going to continue looking at this what happens when we sin checklist tradition has created. In review, it was simply saying when we sin we must pay for our sins or there is some type of punishment for our sins. We are also not in right standing and need to get "right" with God. We then are out of fellowship with God, until we confess our sins and repent of them. This checklist is man's idea of what happens when we sin. 

"Get right with God"?

 This phrase reveals one is failing to grasp the New Covenant. When we are born again we are in perpetual right standing with Almighty God. In the Finished Work, we exchanged our unrighteousness with Christ and received His perfect righteousness. When we blow it we don't need to get right with God. We are already right with Him.  For further study on this point see here

Broken Fellowship?

  Today, I want to address this traditional stronghold of broken fellowship when we sin. This concept suggests that when we sin, God cannot have any fellowship with us. Many will say we are still saved but our fellowship with God is disrupted or broken until we repent and confess our sins. 

 In the Scriptures, we can find this word fellowship used fourteen times. Not in one single passage is this concept taught. Not a solitary verse suggests that if a believer sins God walks away from Him. No verse suggests that if we blow it God steps back until we fess up our wrong. So where did this stronghold begin? 

 Again, we go back to the first chapter of the first epistle of John. We can see clearly how this misunderstood passage creates many concepts that undermine the truths of the New Covenant. What do I mean?
            16 “This is the new covenant I will make
    with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he says,
“I will never again remember
    their sins and lawless deeds.”

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. Hebrews 10:16-18 NLT 
 This is the New Covenant. If He isn't remembering our sins anymore why is He breaking away from us when we blow it? Look at the passage in 1 John 1 here
 If we look at these verses we can readily see the disconnect. 
...that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3b NKJV
What is John saying and who is he addressing? He is acknowledging the good we have in Christ. We who are saved have fellowship with the Father. He is giving an invitation for those outside of this fellowship to come and partake of it.
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 NKJV
This passage is the source religious tradition misapply to create this erroneous concept of broken fellowship when we sin. The misunderstanding comes from attributing this passage to Christians. Look at the context. John is giving an invite to partake of this beautiful fellowship we have with Father God. Who is he talking to? He is talking to these Gnostic unbelievers. Understand, they didn't believe sin existed. If there is no sin, there is no need for a Savior. So this passage makes more sense when we understand the context and audience. The Gnostics believed in higher knowledge. Though they were lost they believed because they had achieved higher knowledge they were in fact in fellowship with God. 

 John revealed to them if we say we have this fellowship yet aren't saved we are in reality walking in darkness, we lie and don't have the truth. This walking in darkness is a reference even Paul used to describe and contrast the saved and the lost. So John is saying if we walk in the light (be born again) we have fellowship with the family of God and with God Himself and the blood perpetually cleansing us. 

 The disconnect is when we attribute this passage to believers. The concept begins by saying when we sin we are then walking in darkness. Then we are in deception thinking we have fellowship. But that is not what is being taught here. It is referencing a lost person. When we sin we are still in right standing. We as believers are always in the light because of the gift of His righteousness.

 Hebrews 13 also shuts this concept down. He said He will never leave or forsake or abandon us, here.  Never would include even when we sin. So when we sin will we lose fellowship? The answer is a clear no. This is a made up concept of tradition. Having God beside us even in our worst state is what will shake us from the bondage of sin.

Turning one over to satan?

 I felt it good and well to address this passage in this post. It goes well with the theme. If our sins don't separate us or bring about the loss of fellowship, why then did Paul turn a person over to satan? 
deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:5 NKJV
It would seem this passage pokes a hole in the no loss of fellowship when we sin view. Actually, it doesn't. What does this difficult passage actually suggest? Is it teaching the loss of salvation? Is it teaching broken fellowship?

 If we can see it in simplicity it actually makes sense. What Paul is dealing with was a man engaged a seriously disturbing sexual sin that even the lost disapproved of. This was tarnishing the witness of the Corinthian church. This issue was being addressed but the person insisted on pursuing this sin. What to do?

 A believer won't lose their salvation when they keep sinning the same sin. But if they persist in pursuing a destructive path, sometimes we just have to let them. In other words, if we find someone extremely persistent in sin and going down a path and no matter the love, the compassion and goodness showed, they still wish to pursue this sin, eventually we just have to turn them over to experience their own destruction. For example, the spouse who persists in adultery. Eventually, divorce, marred reputation, and broken trust of their children is the result. Though the person is saved the destruction experienced could have been avoided. Now God was always there with them. They could have turned from this path at any time and God was right there with arms open wide. 

 In a simpler explanation, Paul is saying the man was going down a path and we have tried to rescue him from this path but he refused, so go ahead and follow this path to its bitter end. The turning over to satan, is simply saying allow the person to experience all the consequences of sin because in the end the spirit is still saved. 

 To sum it all up, when we sin we don't experience some form of broken fellowship. What can occur is condemnation attacking our minds. Though we aren't actually separated or experiencing a literal breaking of fellowship, our mind and emotions may feel like it is occurring. Sin sometimes shakes our confidence. It is never God bringing these feelings. This is why it is essential always to run to God not hide from Him when we miss it. Think of this. Before you were saved, He knew each and every sin you'd ever commit and He still called you and received you unto Himself. When you accepted the free gift of Grace, He gave you His righteousness, forgiveness, eternal security and the gift of no condemnation. Nothing we do will surprise or catch Him off guard. He will never leave, abandon or forsake you.

1 comment:

UNF8 - Robert Eddowes said...

Thank you for this post it is awesome to see a like-minded minister bring such beautiful clarity to a topic that can cause such division in religious circles, but at the same time bring such clarity to the understanding of our relationship with Abba Daddy. Again Thank you for this revealing and insightfully Biblical explanation of the truth about Gods grace and the context of these misunderstood verses.
-Robert Eddowes of Revel8ion Media/Ministries