"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:9). A blessed word this is. By nature, the Corinthians were in another fellowship. The same Epistle (6:9-11) tells us what some of them were. Like ourselves by nature they were in the fellowship of sin and death and in fellowship with him, who is the author of sin and the enemy of God, Satan. But a faithful God called them and has called us by the Gospel into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. If we have obeyed the Gospel and accepted the gift of God we are brought through the Grace of God into the fellowship of the Son of God. All believers are in the same fellowship, one with the Lord. But that is a truth and a blessed revelation far deeper than our mind can fathom or our pen could describe. No saint has ever sounded the depths of this wonderful call of God nor can God's saints fully know what that fellowship all means, until the blessed day comes when we shall see Him as He is and when joined to Him we shall be like Him.
And yet we can remind ourselves of the little we know and through it encourage our hearts. Faith loves to dwell upon the blessed Person, whom faith alone through the Spirit's power can make a living reality. And God, the faithful God, loves to hear His children speak much of Him, whom He loves, the Son of His Love, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fellowship means to have things in common. And that is what God has done. He has taken us through His Grace out of the fellowship in which we are by nature, the things we have in common as enemies and children of wrath and has called us into the fellowship of His Son. And now called of God into this fellowship we have things in common with His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings before us once more the old story, which never grows old, but is eternally new and becomes more blessed the more we hear it. The Son of God, He who is the true God and the eternal Life, came to this earth and appeared in the form of Man. "The Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us" (1 John 1:2). And He who is the true God and the eternal life, by whom the worlds were made, gave Himself for our sins. He came to give His life as a ransom for many, to make propitiation for the whole world. He who knew no sin was made sin for us and on the Cross peace was made. There in His own body on the tree He bore our sins. All who believe on Him, who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour, are taken out of that in which they are by nature and are brought into Christ. And here we can with praising hearts and full assurance sing of our blessed position in Him.
Lord Jesus, are we one with Thee?
Oh height, oh depth, of love!
And crucified and dead with Thee,
Now one in heaven above.
Such was Thy grace, that for our sake
Thou didst from heaven come down;
With us of flesh and blood partake,
And make our guilt Thine own.
Our sins, our guilt, in love divine,
Confessed and borne by Thee;
The gall, the curse, the wrath, were Thine,
To set Thy ransomed free.
Ascended now, in glory bright,
Life-giving Head Thou art;
Nor life, nor death, nor depth, nor height,
Thy saints and Thee can part.
But the fellowship of His Son into which the Grace of God has brought us means more than this blessed new relation and the positional truth that as believers we have been crucified with Christ and that we are risen with Him. The life we possess as born again is His own life. We possess the life of Him, who died in our stead. Christ is our life. This means fellowship of His Son, we are one with Him. We also possess His Spirit. The Spirit of Christ dwelleth in us and we are one Spirit with the Lord.
This oneness with Christ, the fellowship of His Son, that we belong to Him and He to us, that we have an inheritance in Him and He has an inheritance in us, is a great truth. Like every other revealed truth it must be a reality in our lives. We are called by God to walk in this fellowship. We know we are in Him, and through Grace we abide in Him. But it is also written, "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). His own life must be manifest. In this fellowship of His Son we have the strength to walk as He walked, because we have His life and His Spirit. There is no need to walk after the flesh, but we can always walk in the Spirit and walking thus we walk as He walked. And this spiritual walk becomes possible as our hearts dwell in faith on the fact that we are called into the fellowship of His Son. We must have this wonderful fact constantly before our hearts as a real thing. Then all we do will be governed by it. If this is real how can we be conformed to this world? The world in all its aspects is the enemy of God. In that fellowship we walked once "according to the course of this world." Should we then turn back to it and enjoy its pleasures and ambitions? If we do, we walk in the flesh and then we do not know the joy and peace of the fellowship of His Son, but are joyless and miserable. But if the fact of the fellowship of God's Son is a reality in power, it will keep us from being conformed to this world.
We believe the Spirit of God presses this home to the consciences of His people and calls us to a separated walk.
And this must lead to another phase of the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ. It is written "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (2 Cor. 4:10). This stands in connection with persecution and suffering. Walking in the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ the Apostle had one great desire, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Phil. 3:10). To the Colossians he wrote "who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church" (Col. 1:24). He suffered and bore His reproach. His heart in the enjoyment of the fellowship desired the fellowship of His sufferings. We know little of these because we are conformed to this world and not loyal to our Lord and God's calling. But if we walk in conscious fellowship with Him and are loyal to Him we too will know a little of the fellowship of His sufferings. Then our hearts long that we may "bear His reproach." The blessed One of God is rejected, can our hearts be satisfied with anything less than being rejected too? Perhaps if we were to lift up our voices now against the Christ dishonoring things, both in doctrine and practice, which are the leading features of the present-day religious world, we would know a little more of this fellowship.
Called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord means also to share His work. We are called to serve. He was here as One that serveth, and we are "to serve one another in love." "Whosoever will be great among you let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matt. 20:26-27). We can be servants with Him. He is intercessor and burden-bearer and we have a share in this likewise.
And there is the fellowship of His Son in its eternal aspect. God's calling is to be like His Son. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29). We shall be with Him forever and like Him.
May the Holy Spirit hold these great truths before our hearts and in His power may we be consciously and constantly enjoying the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, till we are called by Himself to be with Him.
From The Lord of Glory... by A. C. Gaebelein. New York: Publication Office "Our Hope", ©1910.
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