While sin is something that seems to be rarely talked about anymore, in the church as while as the broader culture, sin is a barrier that affects our level of intimacy with Jesus. Another barrier is a lack of understanding His passion for us, which when rightly understood can help us not to sin. The song ‘When He was on the Cross” (well worth listening to) has a line, “He knew me yet He loved me.” The context is the awareness of Him loving us while we still rejected Him. In the scriptures Paul expressed it this way,
10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10 (NKJV) 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Romans 5:17 (NKJV)
He deeply loved us enough to die for us while as sinners we were His enemies! His desire once we come to know Him is that we would ‘reign in life.’ What does that mean if we are to walk it out? It means we need a shift in perspective. About 20 years ago I asked a dear friend what she thought the Fear of the Lord was, she replied, “Loving Him so much I would never do anything to offend Him.” That is a shift in perspective!
So what is the effect of sin on our relationship with Him? It gets in the way. When we fail and sin after our conversion we need to deal with it through repentance, a change of mind and heart that produces a change in behaviour. Our sin does not affect our standing as His child; it does however affect our fellowship. If you have ever been in a relationship with someone where one or both of you were offended at something the other did you know how it affects that fellowship, walls go up, there is a withdrawal of intimacy. Intimacy can be restored if we stumble, the greater danger is walking in rebellion, as the verses below illustrate.
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27 (NKJV)
26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward]. 27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]. Hebrews 10:26-27 (AMP)
We cannot walk in deliberate and obstinate rebellion to His word and expect to walk with Him. However, if we think of our relationship with Jesus like walking with Him on a well lit path at night we can capture the effects of sin on fellowship. If we walk or stumble off the path into the darkness we are no longer near Him, however He has not moved, He is still on the path. To get close to Him again we need to leave the darkness and get back on the path with Jesus. John described it this way,
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NKJV)
If we get off the path we can return, sit with Him, acknowledge, out loud is best, our sin and failing, ask for His forgiveness and then by faith receive it. His presence will wash over us and we can continue walking with Him. Ask Him to impart the fear of the Lord to your heart so that you will so deeply love Him you never want to offend Him. Recognize what Paul talked about, His deep love for us and His desire to see us live in victory in life. Pray for discernment between conviction and condemnation. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and of His love for us. When the Holy Spirit convicts us He redirects us to Jesus and His heart. When the enemy condemns us he makes us feel like we have failed and can never walk closely with Jesus, he points us to ourselves. Where is the best place to find restoration? When we fall He wants us to fall forward into His arms!!!