As we continue to examine the Christian lifestyle adopted by the very first group of Christian converts, we come to the consideration of individual fellowship with God. God has called us out of death and into life, and into fellowship with himself. But what does that mean?
The Greek word for fellowship here is the word koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah), and it is defined in Strong’s Concordance as partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship. This has some amazing implications!
The very first implication is that God would even want fellowship with us. Yet He has called us into participation with Him in the affairs of life. This call is for everyone! John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” That participation we consider is a call to be with God for eternity, living with vitality and purpose! And we can begin that participation in this present day. So how do we do that? How do we participate in God’s abundant life?
What we must realize is that for the Christian, those who have accepted God’s invitation to this fellowship, our life has been exchanged for His. Romans 6:6-11 says “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” He has traded our paltry lives for His glorious and abundant life! But how do we participate in that?
We must continually yield from our old ways and live in His newness of life. Pray something like “God, I yield my old nature to You. Please fill me with that vital life of your Son, Jesus and let me live in His new life.” For some things, this can be minute to minute yielding just to get through the moment. For others, once is enough. In this way, we participate in His life and maintain unbroken fellowship with God. As God lets us experience temptation and trial, we can resist our old nature and walk in His newness of life.
This has implications in corporate or congregational expression also, but I hope to deal with that in a future article.
As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have questions.