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. – 1Jn. 1:8-9 NIV
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Today’s devotional is a follow-up to the devotional with the same title where the need for Christians to avoid sinful acts that will affect fellowship of brethren was the focus. The effect of sin on Christian fellowship and the need for the Christian not to be the reason for the disruption of peaceful co-existence amongst the brethren was also discussed. All these points remain very important because it is with the achievement of genuine fellowship amongst the brethren that the reward of fellowshipping can be obtained. Without the presence of God in the midst of Christian fellowship, the gathering will hardly have any positive result. It will be characterized more by disagreements and frictions of all types. There will be complete absence of love and unity and thus there will be no progress which is the expected in a Christian gathering. All these according to the disciple John, in the foundation scripture for today’s devotion, will be because the Christian has not honestly confessed sins committed and sought for forgiveness through Christ Jesus – 1Jn. 1:7. He is sure that the person who confesses honestly will receive forgiveness. The positive of this is that such will stop walking in darkness and will transit into walking in light. It is impossible for the Almighty God to be in a gathering of people who believe they are sinless as He is a god of light and darkness cannot be found in Him.
A true Christian fellowship will not be made up of people who have never sinned but of people who have become righteous because they have honestly confessed their sins, have received forgiveness and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – Rom. 1:17; 3:21. Not only will such a gathering have people who live together in peace and joy, but will also enjoy the following advantages:
- Their prayers will be answered and quickly too – Acts 4:24-31. Because obstacles to prayers, which is sin, have been removed as a result of received forgiveness, and the members of the fellowship have conferred righteousness, requests by such people during prayers are promptly granted. The presence of God in such gatherings, which is the Holy Spirit, will ensure that this is the norm.
- There is unity of purpose amongst the members of such a fellowship – Acts 4:32. This is because they are operating under the influence of one spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. They will therefore always react in the same manner to the same issue without necessarily having any form of communication. There is therefore hardly any disagreement in such gatherings as disagreements are basically the result of differences in individual perspective to a situation and the desire of each person to enforce his/her opinion, sometimes without the willingness to compromise held positions. A people that are being directed by one spirit cannot react differently to any issue whatsoever.
- Members of such a fellowship have more experiences of the manifestation of the power of the Almighty God – Acts 4:33a. This is expected because the dominance of the Holy Spirit in such environment will make the fruits of the spirit as listed in scriptures the major feature (Gal. 5:22), and this will allow for the availability of spiritual ability to effect change which is called spiritual Power. The members of the group will thus be in a position to effect changes in the spiritual realm to their advantage.
- Members of such a fellowship access higher level of Grace required for success in life. – Acts 4:33b. Grace is unmerited favour and is made available to those whom the Lord is happy with and in whose midst he has chosen to dwell. Members of such fellowship receive unmerited advantages at work and in the society at large as the Almighty God continues to display His preference for such people in their daily activities. Output continues to exceed expectations in all their endeavours because the Almighty God has chosen to prosper all that they lay their hands on.
- Members of such a fellowship will experience no poverty or lack – Acts 4:34-35. It is simply impossible for members of such a group to experience poverty or lack. This is because the Lord who owns heaven and earth and gives power to make wealth is in their midst – Psa. 24:1; Deut. 8:18. He will be their shepherd and so they cannot want – Psa. 23:1. He is the one that has the ability to open doors of blessing – Num. 23:1-20 .
The absence of all the above amongst a Christian group may just be traced to a defective fellowship caused by unconfessed sins which makes it impossible for the Almighty God to forgive and be present – Psa. 32:1. Christians must continue to encourage honesty when forgiveness is been sought from the Lord as dishonesty before Him will only have negative impact on the group. As much as committing sins should be avoided, hypocrisy of being clean and perfect, as revealed in today’s foundation scripture, should also be discouraged as it tends to deter the presence of God in such groups and so affect the reward that should come to such group members. May God help us all to be honest in the confession of our sins before Him so we can receive forgiveness and thus have His presence in all our fellowship in Jesus name. Amen.