Friday, October 30, 2009
It's about intimacy
Let’s return 1 John for a moment. John declares the message of life to his spiritual children “so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). John’s order may surprise us. Rather than first mentioning fellowship with God, John gives prior emphasis to the intimate fellowship he wishes to share with those who receive his letter. We might expect things to be the other way around, with the accent placed on fellowship with God rather than fellowship with people. But John accentuates the human dimension because it is essential to full fellowship with God.It appears that intimacy is not something that can happen in isolation. I often note here that Christianity and psychology are not nearly as linked as most of us would want them to be, but here, I think, is where they are. Clearly, the same psychological factors that stand int he way or intimate relationship with others, stands in the way of intimate relationship with God. Conversely, and more importantly, as we learn intimacy with God, many of those factors will find healing.
The inseparability of divine and human fellowship appears again in verses 6-7:
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
Once we see in verse 6 that “living in spiritual darkness” precludes fellowship with God, we would expect verse 7 to read: “but if we are living in the light of God’s presence, then we have fellowship with God.” Instead, John mentions “fellowship with one another” as if it were almost identical to fellowship with God.
That, I think is the bottom line here. God is the Healer, whether physical, emotional, or even deeper. As Mark notes in the first post, God is seeking us as intimate fellows. He will heal our difficulties to enable that. But just as in human relationship we must risk intimacy - so we must with Him as well. Only the risk is greater - we cannot hide from Him, and whether we admit it or not, we know it.
And that dear friends is the gospel - HE STILL LOVES US. I marvel that my wife loves me, everyday. She sees much that is wrong with me. But God, sees all of it, hears all of it and experiences all of it with me. And He still loves me.
Is there a better definition of grace? We just have to allow ourselves to enjoy it.