Can Christians Lose Fellowship With God?
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The short answer is no, we cannot lose fellowship with God. I’d even say this: The phrasing of the question is wrong because fellowship and relationship with God is the same thing.
I used this particular query as the title of this devotional because it’s used so often by those who chop up our union with God into sections based on our actions and attitudes. If we look into Scripture, the word fellowship is only used approximately ten times in the New Testament, but not once is the context referring to a Christian receiving the silent treatment from God for sinning.
Am I pro-sin? Of course not. When we sin it’s only smart to stop. Sinning is bad for us and others. As children of God we’ve been recreated in spirit to no longer sin. Paul said we’ve died to it; he said Christ is not promoting sin just because He’s justified us (see Romans 6:2-11, Galatians 2:17).
Therefore when we sin, we should turn from it every time but never to receive more forgiveness, and never to get back into fellowship with God.
THE CROSS ACHIEVED THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME—for all who’ve ever believed in Christ (see John 17:23, 1 Corinthians 1:9).
Unlike human relationships, with God, only blood forgives and nothing else. The author of Hebrews tells us without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (see Hebrews 9:22). Why do you think Jesus had to die a bloody death and not some other way, such as hanging?
BLOOD. HAD. TO. BE. SHED.
Continual repenting doesn’t continually forgive us either, it’s not blood. But even if it did, how could we be sure we repented well enough? The legalist will tell you, but they aren’t believing in only Christ’s blood. Instead, their own works. This group will be turned away at heaven (see Matthew 7:21-23, Romans 11:6).
Continual confessing doesn’t continually forgive us either, it’s not blood. But even if it did, how could we be sure we remembered every single sin? God doesn’t forget, just because we forget. And why don’t we just go ahead and do a lifetime blanket confession? Or, why not just overlook sins or attempt to justify them with excuses? And what about the sins we forget to confess?
A person who struggles with sanctimonious tendencies will scream, “Those are willful sins, Matt! Only willful sins count!”
Well they can raise their voice all they like, the reality is, our wills are involved every time we sin. All sins are willful. There’s no such thing as an accidental sin. According to the Law of Moses? Yes, because there were 613 sins to remember, but not now. We don’t get to pick stuff out from the Law for our liking, it’s all or nothing and you must be Jewish (see Deuteronomy 4:2, James 2:10, Galatians 3:10, Ephesians 2:12-19).
Since Jesus came and brought in the New Covenant, therefore setting aside the first Covenant made by Moses, the Bible says anything that is not of faith is sin. Good luck trying to cherry-pick sins, both for yourself, and for others (see Luke 22:20, Romans 14:23, Hebrews 10:9).
The “continue to sin willfully” passage from Hebrews 10:26 is referring to Jews sinning according to the Law. This does not apply to Christians because we aren’t trying to receive forgiveness from animal blood at the temple–they were. The Law required it. That was the problem. They were willfully sinning according to the Old Covenant, the Law. Are we doing this? No, friends, we are not. We’ve died to the Law in full so that we can live for Christ! All laws! Self-made, church-made, or Mosaic! (See Galatians 2:19, 5:1, Romans 7:4).
Simply read down to verse 29 in Hebrews chapter 10 to see the full context of the continue to sin willfully threat. It’s sinning according to Moses, not Jesus, so stop worrying about being forgiven for willful sins. I REPEAT: STOP WORRYING ABOUT SINNING.
If you sin, Christian, you are already forgiven (see James 5:15). God knows you’ll sin but He’s decided to not hold it against you (see Hebrews 8:12). The sooner you understand this, the sooner you’ll sin less because “stopping sinning” won’t be your focus. Living righteously will, because that’s what you are! (See 1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 2:29, Romans 6:18).
The next question is, does our good works cause us to get back into fellowship with God? No way. Our best works are like filthy rags apart from Christ (see Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 15:5). As I mentioned in the opening, some claim we can lose fellowship with God but not our relationship. They preach we must do good works, confess sins, and cut back on sinning to achieve fellowship over and over and over–yet our relationship is always secure.
This is worse than Old Testament Judaism, as even they didn’t chop up fellowship and relationship based on works, confession, and less sinning. Animal bloodshed once a year at the Day of Atonement gave them a clear conscience for another 365 days worth of sinning. They knew nothing could be done about their sins–transgressions of the Law–until blood was offered up the following year. As a result, the Hebrew people never worried about fellowship nor relationship being broken; an annual animal slaughter took care of both.
Sore thumbs galore stick out in a person’s theology when we mention the truth which overrides the list of things they claim we must do repeatedly to get back into fellowship: Jesus’ blood forgave us forever, even of future sins.
Their heads spin, they can’t compute, and here’s what they can’t fathom:
ALL OUR SINS WERE IN THE FUTURE WHEN CHRIST DIED FOR THEM.
Think about it, we get our very notion of time from the sun and planets in which He created. Who are we to say He can’t forgive the future? He can! He does! He did! For all who will believe in Him once! Remember, only blood forgives. Christ isn’t getting up and down on a cross in heaven each time we sin.
IT. IS. FINISHED.
The author of Hebrews is adamant, God forgives every sin for every believer once and for all time by one offering, the bloody body of Jesus! (See Hebrews 1:3, 7:27, 10:1-18). The wages of sin is a bloody death not God sticking His fingers in His ears. JESUS CHRIST DIED (see Romans 6:23). So we have to come up with a better reason to change our sinful actions and attitudes rather than repeated forgiveness or trying to get back into fellowship. How about we make healthy changes because God wants the best for us like a good father does? This only makes sense.
Lastly, some will use 1 John 1 as the go-to chapter to prove we can lose fellowship with God for sinning. But upon further review, the only way we can come to such a conclusion is when we don’t understand two things:
- The first chapter of 1 John is an invitation to unbelievers to join we believers in fellowship with God through faith in Christ’s ability to forgive them once. That’s why it says they’ll be cleansed of all unrighteousness. All means all. We can’t lose fellowship if we are perfectly cleansed because only sin can separate us from God–yet we’ve been cleansed. Believers are then addressed in the beginning of chapter 2. We can read it, but the first chapter isn’t directed at us. Context matters tremendously here.
- Confession, just like repentance, is normal and healthy for Christians; however, neither keep God pleased with us, saved, forgiven, or in fellowship. Only Jesus’ life, bloody death, and resurrection does that and our entering into Him by faith, once. Jesus will always stay alive. He will always stay faithful. So we will always stay pleasing to God, saved, forgiven, and in fellowship (see John 1:12-13, 14:9, Hebrews 4:11, 7:24-25, 12:2, 1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 2:15, 5:21).
So today, my friends, know this: God never turns away from us! God never removes fellowship until we “shape up”! He’s our doting Dad! Be confident in His love for you! The Cross was a huge success and you’re God’s masterpiece!
A prayer for you: Father, recently a lady said to me, “You mean to tell me, if I don’t take time to talk to God for two or three days in a row, and I ignore Him, you think I still have fellowship with Him!?” I didn’t answer her because she was already worked up into a hateful lather, but yes, absolutely! If the world only knew how secure you are in being our Father, they’d never see you in such a pouty, immature view! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For the believers, remind them they are one with you. We can’t get more fellowshippy than that! For the unbelievers, keep speaking to them, Dad. Keep letting them know how much you love them. Help their unbelief. In Christ’s name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!