Have you ever heard that when you sin, you are no longer in fellowship with God? It was one of the most common teachings I heard growing up in church, as well as with the Christian organization I was involved with in college.
The picture painted was that your sin put up a barrier between you and God so that He couldn’t be close to you or bless you. In fact, He might even punish you by making bad things happen in your life until you got right with Him again.
The solution always given was for you to confess your sins to God and to be very sincere about it so that God would know you really meant it! Then, you could be assured that you were forgiven again. That resulted in you being back in fellowship with God. However for years, I often wondered if I had convinced God that I was sincere enough to be forgiven.
The idea that a Christian can break fellowship with God comes from an Old Covenant mindset that if you will obey God, He will get close to you; but, if you don’t, He will turn away from you. See Deuteronomy 28.
The good news is that none of that is true since we are people under the New Covenant. Here is why:
- We are united to God. You can’t get any closer to God than that and sin doesn’t break that union. 1 Corinthians 6:17
- All your sins are already forgiven whether you confess them or not. See Colossians 2:13 and Ephesians 4:31-32. (Though it’s fine and probably healthy to tell God when you sin, that doesn’t get you more of His forgiveness.)
- We are not under the law of blessing and cursing laid out in the Old Covenant. We are already blessed to the max with every spiritual blessing in Christ, according to Ephesians 1:3.
The word for fellowship in the New Testament is the word we use today for intimacy. John wanted the people he wrote to enjoy this intimacy just as he did. 1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
When we sin, we do not lose our fellowship with God, that is, our intimacy with God. It’s impossible because Jesus has finished everything required by the Father to get us into fellowship with Him and to keep us there. It’s totally based on Jesus’ performance on the cross, not ours.
Enjoy your fellowship/intimacy with God without fear that you will break fellowship with Him. You can’t! You can relax and live in confidence each day as a fully forgiven, permanently united, free from the law and sin, child of God, because The Cross worked!