Question & Answer Forum

Can a believer be out of fellowship with God?

Speaking of losing our enjoyment of fellowship with God may be a better way to express this thought.

John writes his first epistle so the believers will have fellowship “with us” (1:3). He was the last surviving apostle and the apostles doctrine was under attack. The truths of this epistle confirmed believers in what the apostles taught. In this way, believers would have a deeper, more settled enjoyment of fellowship with John and those for whom he testified (1:2). John then affirms that he, the apostles, and all in the family of God are in “the fellowship” with the Father and with the Son (1:3). We can never be out of this fellowship.

In the verses that follow, John clearly indicates that sinning is not characteristic of the believers life, nor is lying or not doing the truth (1:6). Either an individual walks in darkness or in light, because he is either an unbeliever or a believer. The demarcation is clear. All who walk in the light (characteristic of all believers) have fellowship “one with another” (1:8).

Sadly, a believer can fail to enjoy this fellowship. Life is wasted while a believer is not enjoying this wonderful, family fellowship.

D. Oliver

How can we lose the enjoyment of fellowship with God and how can it be restored?

Sin robs a believer of the enjoyment of salvation. Even sins such as dishonesty, harmful anger, momentary lust, or other unbecoming thoughts can bring a cloud over a believers soul. This is not a matter of mood swings or irrational emotions.

Just as the enjoyment of fellowship with God may be lost in a moment, it can be restored as quickly, because confession of sin is not an act of penance. Immediate recognition of sins effects and immediate response in confession ought to be characteristic of a believer. By confessing

this sin to the Lord (1 John 1:9), the believer returns to enjoying the Savior and to fruitfulness.

D. Oliver

What is the purpose of confessing our sins to God?

1 John 1:9 makes it clear that confession is the key to enjoying fellowship with God and being fit to do His will.

When we confess our sins, we arent telling the Lord something He doesnt already know. We are confronting the problem – our sin – and beginning to recognize the seriousness of sin against God. Confessing our sins to God means saying the same thing about our sins as God does, agreeing with God. On becoming aware of his sin, the believer confesses, “Lord, that was sin.” This is not mere lip service toward God, but is rather the response of devoted hearts honoring God by taking sides with Him against self and sin. This can ingrain Gods holiness into our heart and remind us of our proper submission to the Lord.

Contrition is a most valuable asset in Gods estimate. Confessing our sins and having “a contrite spirit” are closely related to each other.

In His infinite wisdom, God has ordained that personal, private confession of our sins brings us back to enjoying our salvation and our Savior. As we often learn, He has ways of dealing with us that make us marvel. Time has unfolded other benefits that we received because of the way God accomplished His work in us. The same may be true of confessing our sins. In addition to bringing us back to enjoying Himself, He may teach us many things through this means of dealing with our sins before Him.

D. Oliver

What is a meek and quiet spirit, spoken of in 1st Peter 3:4?

Peter uses Sarah as an example for godly wives. The recorded occasion when she called Abraham “Lord” (Genesis 18:12) took place when her husband and their guests discussed Sarahs having a child in her old age. She laughed at the impossibility of such a thing, but was to learn the value of not unresisting Gods ways with her. This is meekness. It is not an undesirable feature that grows in the garden of weakness. It is the strength that responds submissively to the Lords way of accomplishing His will in us.

True beauty of spirit embraces Gods ways with us as being only good. A number of translations use the word “gentle” for “meek.” Respect for the Lord, rather than fear of others, produces this gentleness. Societys view of a meek woman pictures her as being afraid because she dare not do otherwise. Scriptures view of a meek woman presents her as willingly bowing to the Lord, because she knows His ways are best.

The word translated “quiet” has the thought of tranquility, peace. Her quiet spirit is at peace in the enjoyment of the Lords presence.

These are features unknown or unappreciated in the world, but regarded by the Lord as “an ornament of great price.”

D. Oliver