Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fellowship with Christ

One of the things that Paul teaches in chapter 8 of his letter to the Romans is that those who are in Christ are adopted with Him as sons and daughters of God.  Christians are heirs with Christ and participants in all that is His.  The text doesn't directly speak of fellowship, but fellowship is something that comes naturally between a parent and child are in a relationship that is healthy and whole, as a saving relationship with God through Christ must be. 

Last night I read some examples of what it means to have fellowship with Christ.  According to John Owen fellowship with Christ includes these things:

  • “fellowship in name; we are (as he is) sons and daughters of God”
  • “fellowship in title and right; we are heirs, co-heirs with Christ”
  • “fellowship in likeness and conformity; we are predestined to be like the firstborn  of the family”
  • “fellowship in honor; he is not ashamed to call us brethren”
  • “fellowship in sufferings; he learned obedience by what he suffered, and every son is to be scourged that is received”
  • “fellowship in his kingdom; we shall reign with him”[1]

I said above that a saving relationship with God through Christ must be healthy and whole, but there are often times when it may not look that way on our end.  We struggle in our families.  We see injustice in the world.  We wonder when God is going to answer our prayers.

But our circumstances don’t change God’s eternal promises, or His ability to fulfill those promises, which He surely will do.  So I invite you to read Romans 8:14-17 below, and re-read the promises above, and know that these remarkable blessings are yours and mine because you and I have fellowship with Christ. 

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] These thoughts on fellowship, including the use of italics, are original to John Owen and are found in his book Communion with God, which is cited in: Beeke, Joel R. and Mark Jones, A Puritan Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012) 111.  

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