The role of obedience in fellowship
John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
In order to remain in fellowship with God, we must “abide” in Him, but how do we do this? If we speak to God in prayer and hear from God in His Word, what do we do with we’ve said and heard? How do we walk in this fellowship?
Sin separates us from God. Any sin. But it’s not about the wrong acts of sin, it’s about the broken relationship. A perfect, holy God can’t tolerate sin and still be in fellowship with the sinner. We have to be righteous, just as He is righteous (Matthew 5:48). But a problem exists. We’re not perfect and we can’t be! So we come back to the question of how we can be in fellowship with God if the requirement is perfection.
First of all, just as sin is a broken relationship with God rather than wrong acts, righteousness is a right relationship with God rather than good acts. We may not be capable of perfection, but we have been given the righteousness of Christ, who is perfect, if our lives are submitted to Him. Only then do we have any ability to obey God. You see, obeying doesn’t lead to righteousness. Imputed righteousness (look that up, it’s a great word study) empowers us to obey. Jesus’ work on the cross frees us that we might be able to obey God, because we love Him. Obedience based on love can only lead to loving fellowship.