Only in Christ’s work on the cross can there be any fellowship between imperfect creatures and the infinitely perfect God.God is perfect. Man is not.. God lives in a state of continual perfection. Man lives in the state of filthiness and slime. Isaiah describes the very best of mankind as being quite a bit less than the disgusting stench and grime of a very well used feminine product. Only in his day rags were used. We have studied this in detail in the past.
So if we think we have no sin in us, because we are now saved, then we deceive ourselves. Yes, at salvation we are immediately cleansed. But that does not last very long for most folks. Perhaps a few minutes pass before they commit their first sin, following their moment of salvation
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace NASB
But after salvation, we are still in this world and we fail in life with respect to one or more of the many categories of sin. Arrogance being the foundation of them all. Thus, Christ commands us to pray to the Father and ask for forgiveness.
12′ And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. NASB
Debts are sins in all their categories which we commit on a daily basis. Thus the need for the request for forgiveness. But asking for forgiveness is not the sum total of the prayer. We have to acknowledge our sins, and that is where we are in 1 John.
John states here that we confess our sins, ‘homologeo,’ which means to cite, list, name as in a point by point spelling out of each sin we are aware of (don’t pretend to forget some). ‘Father I did this and that and this and that.’ End of confession.
No, ‘I’m sorry.’ No, ‘I’ll never do it again.’ No, tears. No guilt. None of the nonsense that many holy rollers try to impress others with (that in itself is a sin of approbation). You cannot input your own effort in to the forgiveness process. Just list them and that is all. Then forget them.
God is ‘faithful and just,’ God is on His honor and is in the proper position to rightfully forgive you of your sins. But furthermore, He not only forgives the sins you named, but goes on to forgive the sins of which you are guilty, but did not name because you were not aware of them or you have simply forgotten them. ‘Oh,’ but you say, ‘Can I just name some of them?’ No.
Recall our very detailed study in Leviticus, concerning the principle of confession for known sins, and the offerings for the unknown sins (which includes legitimately forgotten sins – not conveniently forgotten sins). There were two Levitical offerings teaching the principles of both of these categories of sin.
So, now we have the mechanics of confession.
But what does it do for us. Are we saved by confession? No. Confession is only for believers. So salvation is not the issue. Oh, and by the way, once you confess the sins, and therefore God has forgiven them (which means that they are now expunged from existence), then you forget them. They never existed at all. Don’t revisit them. No follow up guilt. None of this, ‘God is getting even with me for my past sins,’ sort of nonsense. Don’t lower God to your ridiculously stupid level.
Our topic is fellowship. And as such we need to be in the same environment with God, in order to have an active fellowship with Him.
So back to verse eight and then on to verse ten.
‘If we say that we have no sin (the idea that salvation has made us perfect),’ ‘If we say that we have not sinned (the idea that we are not subject to sin after salvation),’ then
‘truth is not in us,’ His word is not in us.’ Gods word is not functioning within us.
Does this means that we simply forget what we know of doctrine? Is our mind swept clean of doctrine and we have to start all over again in the learning process? No.
When we deny our failure, we deny that God is right in saying that we are failures. We obviously know more than God. This rejection is typical of indifferent people, typical of defiant people, typical of people who try to skirt around the issue and come up with reasoning that all of this does not apply to them. And so forth.
In this sense then those kinds of people, are living in the darkness of their own lies, their own self deception. Remember that God lives in the light – representative of His perfection. Man lives in the darkness – representative of his many flaws and obvious lack of Gods perfection. In order to have a relationship on a daily basis (we call this fellowship) then man has to get inside the light where God is. And man cannot do it on His own.
Sooooo! We have to obey Gods command of confession. This command follows the requirement of salvation by faith in Christ. Which all means that Gods plan has to be recognized – not any of your own ideas. You cannot change, add to, nor take away from that which God has ordained.
This then becomes the basis for the spiritual life. You have to live inside of Gods sphere of light – we call that, living in fellowship – in order to have a personal and active and functional relationship with Him.
This is accomplished (for believers only) by confession on a regular and daily basis. Do not fool yourself in to thinking that you are able to survive for lengthy periods of time (days) without committing some sin of some kind.
When you are out of fellowship, then Gods word is not functioning within you as it should. Bible doctrine is the fuel, the oil which runs the soul. Shut down the fuel and you operate on the putrid fuel of the sin nature. That serves to destroy the soul. But Gods oil of doctrine keeps your soul running smoothly and effectively.
In fellowship is where your spiritual growth occurs.
In fellowship is where your spiritual production (daily obedience to Gods word – obedience to the responsibilities which God expects of you) occurs.
In fellowship is where your three assets which God gave you (time, doctrine , volition) are invested and earn a return on their investment (review our many ‘parables’ studies).
In fellowship is where your true residence and protection from the world exists.
In fellowship is your residence inside Gods refuge, inside His palace, standing before His throne, where your constant open line of blessing and communication with God exists.
In fellowship is the key to the spiritual life and spiritual growth and advancement to spiritual maturity. And it is all due to your simply accepting Gods rules of confession. You do not earn perfection. You do not deserve perfection. But God gives it freely because of Christ’s work on the Cross and what it accomplished, and your belief in that work.
Now one more point. Confession may get you right with God, but it is not a license to sin and try to get away with it. You still have to live in the world.
If you commit a crime, you’ll get caught eventually and you’ll go through due process. If you are a gossip, then you destroy your own reputation. You ruin your own social life. And so on and so forth. You cannot play games with God and live on both sides of the fence. Flirting with the ‘dark side’ you will eventually become entrapped in that jungle. God will lower the boom on you (or allow the hammer to drop on you) sooner or later.
Don’t be stupid.
Failure in fellowship, means failure in your spiritual life (perhaps this is why doctrine doesn’t work for you???).
Success in fellowship, means certain and absolute and guaranteed success in your spiritual life!