I often misunderstood the Bible when I failed to distinguish between ‘relationship’ and ‘fellowship’. This can lead to some huge misunderstandings which result in the way you live. If you are a Christian and live in the fear of God’s punishment, you may be making the same error.
A relationship with God is established the moment you believe that Christ died for your sins and rose again. Immediately you are born into the family of God and have everlasting life. You are now a child of God (Gal. 3:26; John 1:12) He made you accepted in the Beloved [Jesus] (Eph. 1:6). You can never lose your relationship, but you can lose fellowship.
Children Aren’t Perfect
However, like human children, as God’s children sometimes we go down the wrong road. When my kids did, they lost fellowship with mom and dad. When they ‘fessed’ up, fellowship was restored. In other words, when they were living outside our rules, they were disciplined and needed to restore the fellowship by admitting their failure and changing their ways. Relationally, they couldn’t cease to be my child. The same is true of our relationship and fellowship with God.
Once a Child Always a Child
Once you enter into a relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ, you can never cease to be His child. You cannot lose your relationship with God!
- “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28). You can never go to hell.
- You have everlasting life. If it could be taken away, it wouldn’t be everlasting. It would be temporary. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47).
- Everlasting life is received immediately when one believes in Christ. The believer passes from (spiritual) death to (spiritual) life. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
- You are born again. “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3). Like natural birth, spiritually you are born once. You can’t be ‘unborn’.
- You are declared righteous by faith. God imputes to you the perfect righteousness of Christ. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). This is not earned.
- You are sealed by the Holy Spirit. Sealing indicates security and permanency. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
- We are saved by the grace of God through faith; not by any righteous thing that we have done or continue to do. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). If you could help God save you, then you could brag about your part.
- He promises His children, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Even as a disobedient child, He will not leave you.
But you can live in a way that causes you to lose fellowship (close personal intimacy). The Bible cautions Christians to help them concerning their fellowship with the Lord. We will explore that in the next article.
I invite you to follow me as I continue to explore God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven for anyone who believes the gospel.