Life in the Fellowship

KEY VERSE: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.” —Galatians 6:10


THE English word fellowship as used in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word koinonia, and to the Christian of this Gospel Age it is replete with significance. Its basic meaning is ‘joint participation’, or the share which one has in anything. (Thayer) As footstep followers of Jesus we are truly privileged to share, or partake of, rich and unique blessings of which the world is totally unaware.

The first of these is called to our attention by the Apostle Paul. He wrote to the church at Corinth, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing together [koinonia] of the blood of the Christ? The loaf which we break is it not a sharing together [koinonia] of the body of the Christ? Because one loaf, one body, we the many are, for we all of the one loaf partake.” (I Cor. 10:16,17, Rotherham) Paul is here commenting on Jesus’ words at his institution of the Memorial of his approaching death on the cross, when he gave his perfect life “for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 26:27,28) In our recent lessons we have seen that those of this Gospel Age who have faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus as remitting their sins, and who present themselves to the Heavenly Father in full consecration, are counted by God as being justified by their faith, and thus have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 4:24,25; 5:1) These, then, come at once into the glorious “fellowship [koinonia] of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Cor. 1:9) And what a blessed and comforting fellowship this is! To be walking with Jesus! To hear his sweet, comforting words! To follow in his steps!

Additionally, these already highly blessed ones are called into the “communion [koinonia, fellowship, sharing] of the Holy Spirit.” (II Cor. 13:14) And what a blessing this has been to the Lord’s people! Jesus said to his beloved disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when it, the Spirit of truth is come, it will guide you into all truth: … and it will show you things to come.” (John 16:12,13) And so, indeed, it has been! Directed by the Holy Spirit in their search for the truth, the Lord’s dear people have had revealed to them the Heavenly Father’s wonderful plan of salvation for the whole world of mankind through Christ, in the coming millennial reign of Jesus and the glorified church. They, alone, of all the peoples of earth, have been graciously invited into “the fellowship [koinonia, partnership, or sharing] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: … according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Eph. 3:9,11

And thus, having been justified by their faith; having been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and enlightened by the Word of truth concerning God’s great plan of salvation, these are now invited into a “fellowship [koinonia, partnership, share] in the Gospel.” (Phil. 1:5) In other words, these now have a work to do! It is to publish God’s great love for mankind to all nations, inviting those whose hearts are right to similarly offer themselves to the Heavenly Father in full consecration, and walk in Jesus’ steps.—Rom. 12:1,2; Matt. 24:14

But these must prove themselves worthy of the great prize of the high calling. Jesus, the perfect man, suffered unto death for sinners, and his followers are invited to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.” Like Paul, they joyfully accept “the fellowship [koinonia, the sharing] of his [Christ’s] sufferings, … if by any means … [they] might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”—Col. 1:24; Phil. 3:10,11

If faithful, these will attain to the ultimate and most glorious fellowship in the entire universe—they will “be partakers [koinonos, sharers] of the divine nature.” The Apostle John confirms Peter’s amazing promise with his own inspired testimony. He says, “What we shall be has not yet been disclosed, but we know that when it is disclosed we shall be like him [God], because we shall see him as he is.” And these shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years!—II Pet. 1:4; I John 3:1,2, NEB; Rev. 20:4

Dawn Bible Students Association
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