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Relationship vs. Fellowship

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Watch Week Three Day Three

Let’s look at 1 John 1:9.
(Read together.)

Ask: Based on what we talked about yesterday with the Roman prison illustration, it appears we already are forgiven. Why, then, do we need to confess?

Let the learner answer.

View today’s “Relationship versus Fellowship” chart here.

We experience the same dynamic in human relationships. I (Vivian) have a daughter who is currently a teenager. She is my daughter no matter what, but the quality of our fellowship changes based on our actions and attitudes. When we have a misunderstanding or get into conflict, we don’t stop being related. When I blow it and say something hurtful, I am able to restore our closeness when I admit my mistakes and apologize.

The same is true with our relationship with God. Our relationship is absolutely secure because it is not based on keeping a tally of right and wrong, where we fall in and out of relationship with God when we sin. However, we are not able to enjoy intimacy with God when we hold onto our sin. God’s Spirit convicts us our sin, and we are able to maintain close fellowship when we confess and turn from our sin.

We live in tension this side of heaven. We live in the now and the not yet. Our sin is paid in full, so we are justified before God, but the other side of justification is sanctification, or being set apart and becoming more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). This type of spiritual growth lasts all of our days. We never fully arrive until we see Jesus face to face.

It’s been said: the closer you walk to the light, the more dirt you see. As we continue to mature in our relationship with God, we will be made more aware of our sin. This is true in the life of Paul, who authored a big portion of the New Testament. Before Jesus appeared to him, he lived as a zealous and devout religious leader (Acts 9). He hated and persecuted Christians, calling for their imprisonment and death. As you read his writings over the course of time, he refers to himself initially as a sinner, but by the end of his life he refers to himself as a sinner “among whom I am foremost of all” or the “chief of all sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15–16). So understand that as you continue walking with God, He will be faithful to help you become more like Him. And the gospel of being loved by God will prove sweeter and sweeter as we recognize how much we needed and still need a Savior.


Practice sharing the difference between relationship and fellowship with someone this week.

Watch a captioned version of today’s video here:


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