Re-reading a classic by the great Bible teacher Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer…”He That Is Spiritual.” Reflecting on the following from Romans 8:16, ”The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God,” Sperry wrote… “By this particular manifestation of the Spirit, unseen things become blessedly real. There is such a thing as “ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” Truth must become real to us. We may know by faith that we are forgiven and justified forever: it is quite another thing to have a heart experience in which all is as real as it is true. We may believe in our security and coming glory: it is different to feel its power in the heart. We may believe in “things to come” through the exact teaching of the Word: it is a precious experience to have it made actual to us by the Spirit that “the Lord is at hand,” and that our eternal glory with him may be but a moment removed. Such heart experience is provided in the boundless grace of God for each of his children: but only those who abide in him can know this ecstasy of life.”
Sperry’s entire book is dedicated to helping us experience close, personal fellowship with God. I love him for it. After all once Jesus ascended into heaven, fellowship with God was different. However—and this is a very big, substantial, and vital “however”—it was not less real. The Apostle John wrote in the first four verses of his first letter (First John): “This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life—and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us). What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
Wow! We need to go on in First John to learn the “what and how” of this, but still, WOW! The apostle’s point could not be more evident. Even after the ascension, his fellowship with God remained intact. Different perhaps, but no less tangible…no less real. What’s more, every believer can have such intimate fellowship with God. If every moment of the rest of my life is spent walking in this truth and helping others to do the same, I will smile nightly as I fall asleep.