How can sinners have ongoing fellowship with God?
I John 1:5-10 – “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another (the one – God, with the other – you), and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
Notice the four verbs of ongoing action (present tense)
- We walk – (peripatōmen) (v. 7)
- We fellowship – (koinōnian) (v.7)
- He purifies – (katharizei) (v.7)
- We confess – (homologōmen) (v.9)
The four verbs above provide a picture of God’s provision for sinners to continue in fellowship with Him. Fellowship with God involves sharing in common (i.e. koinōnian) His understanding of life by walking in the light (truth and righteousness). It is to see life from His perspective. It is to live, not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Sinning or walking in darkness (deception and unrighteousness) threatens to disrupt fellowship. But confession (homologōmen – speaking God’s verdict about our sin) is God’s gracious provision for continued fellowship rather than broken fellowship.
When we uncover our sin by confession, God covers it by purifying us (katharizei) from all unrighteousness (cf. Proverbs 28:13-14; Psalm 32:1-5).
How is this possible?
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:1-2).