College & Career Class Lesson Summary, June 17, 2018

We began Sunday by reminding ourselves of the redemption we have in Christ, that it necessitates the complete forgiveness of sins.  We stand redeemed and forgiven, all at the same time.  We lighted upon 1John 1:9 for the sake of argument, as this verse is often used to describe a believer’s need to restore their fellowship with God by confessing sin so God can cleanse you of it.

However, as we looked at the verse, I think we concluded that if God cleanses you from all unrighteousness, as the verse states, then there would never be any future unrighteousness that would need cleansing.  If there is any future unrighteousness that would need cleansing, then you wouldn’t have been cleansed from all of it.

1John is written to identify the believers from the impostors and John gives various means by which a believer could identify a fellow believer vs an impostor.  One of these is that the believer understands that his sin needed to be dealt with whereas the impostor concludes he has no sin.  John reminds them, however, that if they would confess their sin (which a believer would have done), then upon that (one-time) confession, God is faithful and just to forgive their sins and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness (something the impostors don’t have).  Here is another example of identifying the characteristics of these two groups:

1John 2:10  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  2:11  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.  2:12  I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

Love for the brethren is a chief testimony that someone abides in the light (which is God, from chapter 1).  But, did you notice verse 12?  John writes unto them because their sins ARE FORGIVEN.  John’s point in 1John 1:9 is a matter of description of what made 1John 2:12 a reality.

So, what about the fellowship idea?  To keep it short, we went back in the OT and saw how the word fellowship is used to mean, ‘coupled’, ‘joined’, ‘joined together.’  Our fellowship is not separate from our salvation – it is our salvation.  God has a fellowship that we were called into, by faith.  We did not establish fellowship with Him based on our performance, neither did we establish fellowship with Him by faith.  Pay careful attention – God already had a fellowship established (between He, His Son and His Spirit) and by faith, we were welcomed into the fellowship that already existed.  We did not establish HIs fellowship, He established it.

1Corinthians 1:9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The reality is, we cannot lose our fellowship.  Fellowship is not the relationship we try to have with God – it is the relationship that already exists IN HIM that we enjoy.  God is never separated from His fellowship and for us to lose fellowship would necessitate us losing God.  …and, that just won’t happen.

Scripture doesn’t refute itself.  Ephesians 1:7 is about the (already obtained) forgiveness of sins doesn’t refute 1John 1:9 and vice versa.  They both mean exactly what they say, but if we attempt to stay within the context of the letters, we are less likely to come to a conclusion that requires us to ‘read between the lines’, as it were, to explain it.

Ephesians 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;  1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 

All of these spiritual blessings we have been reading about in the first few verses are possible because of something that God had predetermined would be true.  Within the realm of His wisdom and prudence, God was keeping some information veiled until the time appointed to reveal it.  This information was about the good pleasure of His will to join all things together as one in Christ.  This would be accomplished in the ‘dispensation of the fullness of times.’

We noted briefly that it is wise to distinguish the Biblical usage of the word “dispensation” from the man-made theological framework that is often used to interpret the Bible.  We chatted that the predominate view of Dispensationalism is that God’s program with mankind has changed over time and by compartmentalizing these changes, one can easily explain why certain sections of scripture seem to contradict.  It should be noted, however, that many of these so-called contradictions unravel the moment we take the context into account and it is not necessary to submit to a man-made system in order to explain/understand it.  That being said, I did say that you can learn from Dispensationalists all the same, just do not yield yourself to their teaching as your authority.  Allow the Spirit to be your ultimate teacher.

For additional reading on Dispensationalism, feel free to read this:  Please take this information as simply that – information.  But, it will give some background on dispensational theology, if you are not all that familiar with it.

As ‘dispensation’ means ‘stewardship’, we concluded that as it was God’s ultimate purpose, which He had purposed within Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, that God was the Master Steward of time and when the fullness of that time was come, it would be revealed God’s eternal purpose – to bring all things together in One – in Christ.  Much of the book of Ephesians will carry forward with this theme – how God has brought all things together in Christ – and even uses marriage to demonstrate the mystery of this union.

We began looking at verses 12 through 14, but quickly ran out of time.  We’ll pick up with those verses next time, as our story continues…