Elder Vernon Johnson



Salvation from Death of Fellowship 

In this essay, we will consider another aspect of our timely salvation which is deliverance from being dead to fellowship with God.  One of the chief joys of a child of God is to have fellowship with God.  Fellowship is defined as "sharing in common."  Amos brings to our attention the requirement for fellowship when he asked the question in Amos 3:3, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"  The answer is implied that we must be agreed together in order to have fellowship one with another.  In order for us to have fellowship with God we must agree with God.  This agreement is on God's terms and not on ours.  God does not change (nor does truth) in order that we may have fellowship with him.  Anytime that change is required, it is required of us!  This requirement for fellowship is further set forth in 1 John 1:5‑7, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."  Thus to have fellowship with God and to have true Christian fellowship with one another we must walk in the light of God's revealed truth. 

Only God's born again children can have fellowship with God.  According to Rom. 8:7, 8, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."  A person who has not been born spiritually is "in the flesh" and thus has only a carnal (fleshy) mind.  This type of individual cannot please God and thus can have no fellowship with God.  Also this type of person cannot understand spiritual things (Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor. 2:14), or seek after God (Rom. 3:11), or do good (Rom. 3:12, or know the way of peace (Rom. 3:17), or fear God (Rom. 3:18).  Thus he is incapable of walking with God.  It is only after we are born spiritually that we can understand spiritual things, do good, seek after God, know the way of peace, and fear God.  Thus, we who are born again are the only ones capable of having fellowship with God. 

Many times God's born again children do not have fellowship with him.  When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, this was not only typical of the resurrection, but it was also typical of the new birth when we are quickened from being dead in trespasses and sins.  When Lazarus came forth from the grave he had grave clothes on.  Jesus commanded to loose him and let him go.  When we are born of the Spirit we are still possessors of grave clothes, i.e., our habits and lifestyle.  These must be changed if we are to have fellowship with God.  Thus repentance is required for God's children to have fellowship with God.   

With many of God's children, they experience fellowship with God and then die to that fellowship.  In James 5:19, 20 we are told, "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."  James refers to brethren erring from the truth and if they continue in that error they would die.  This is a death to fellowship.  Luke 15:11‑32 addresses dying to the fellowship of God and being saved from that death.  In this passage the younger of the two sons had requested that his Father divide the inheritance.  Upon receiving his portion the younger son took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living.  That youngest son when he was in a far country wasting his substance with riotous living was dead to the fellowship of his Father and to his elder brother.  After he had repented and come back he was restored to fellowship with his Father.  His relationship with his Father never changed.  He was his Father's son before he left, after he left, and when he returned.  Likewise our relationship with God does not change.  We are his children regardless of our status of fellowship.  When the younger son had returned the Father declared, "For this my son was dead; and is alive again, he was lost, and is found."  Later he explained to the elder brother, "for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."  The essential requirement for the younger son who was dead to the fellowship of his Father and elder brother was to repent.  While the providential hand of God was present in leading him to repent, yet "he" had to repent to be saved from death to fellowship. 

How we live our lives and what we believe are essentials in having fellowship with God.  II Cor. 6:14‑18 declares to us, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?  Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 

In conclusion repentance saves us from the death of fellowship with God.  Living godly lives and believing the truth brings us into fellowship with God.

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