Paul says, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15-16).
The Holy Spirit assures us that God is our loving Father and that he feels no anger toward us though we have sinned and failed him so many times. Our well-deserved punishment was completely borne by Jesus on the cross. There is not one blot of transgression against us in his sight. As a loving Father, he will discipline his children, but not in a judicial way. His chastening is done in love for our good that we may become like Christ in every area of our lives.
During quiet times of fellowship, the Holy Spirit makes God’s love real, not just in our heads, but also in our hearts. When God’s Spirit is moving, we have rest and peace. We know we don’t have to strive for a personal righteousness of our own to gain acceptance before God. We are secure in what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, and we can approach God boldly.
There are times, though, when we get out of sync with God — when we don’t have the kind of fellowship that he longs for and we need. During those moments, I am reminded of the church in Laodicea. Jesus told them, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
When Jesus requested to share a meal with them, he was speaking of his desire for fellowship with the Laodicean church. Imagine sitting down to dinner with our Lord — what an intimate and glorious evening that would be! Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a minister in the Church of Scotland in the first half of the nineteenth century, said, “A calm hour with God is worth a whole lifetime with man.”
We don’t have to imagine what that meal might be like. That kind of fellowship is available to us at any moment of any day through the Spirit. We only need to ask.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.