Being Out Of Fellowship

Q. First, thank you for sharing your God given talent of ministry – your site is a daily stop for me.

On the subject of prayer, you have written that we can’t petition the Lord while we’re out of fellowship, except to ask for forgiveness and receive restoration. I was wondering if you could expand on that further.

A. I believe our relationship with God consists of two levels. When we are saved we not only inherit eternal life, but we’re also adopted into God’s family and become one of His children (John 1:12-13, Galatians 4:4-7). Nothing can ever change this. It’s the first level of our relationship with God and it’s eternal and unconditional.

But when we sin as believers and have either refused or neglected to ask for forgiveness, we become estranged from God. I call this being out of fellowship with God. It’s the second level of our relationship with Him and it’s earthly and conditional. We don’t lose our salvation over this, but our relationship can be interrupted, and we may miss out on blessings we would have otherwise received. We remain in this state until we confess and receive forgiveness at which time we’re immediately purified from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) and restored to fellowship. Staying in fellowship with God requires that we confess when we sin so we can be forgiven.

The parable of the Prodigal Son explains this (Luke 15:11-31). When the son went off and lived a life of sin, he didn’t stop being the child of his father but he did lose the benefits of the relationship. When he realized the error of his ways and asked for forgiveness, he was immediately restored. But until he did so, he was on his own. So it is with us. This is why I said when we’re out of fellowship our communication with God is limited to asking for His forgiveness.

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