1 Corinthians 1:9. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Wow, what a glorious prayer of thanksgiving for the church! Paul is thanking God for his great grace in the lives of the Corinthian believers. Grace that has brought us into fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our English word fellowship probably doesn’t do the Greek word koinonia justice. When we think of fellowship we might think of a potluck supper or a cook-out at the church. But koinonia is a much richer word. It literally means participation. Like two parties in business together. Or two people on the same journey with the same goals. We are partners with Christ in his sonship. We are on the same journey as Jesus, walking side by side, with the same goals and destination. That’s koinonia.
And here’s the glorious reality of this koinonia with Jesus. Fellowship with Christ is something you can never lose. Christian, you are never out of fellowship with Christ. Why? Because koinonia is far deeper than what you feel or experience on any given day.
Often Christians will talk about “maintaining our fellowship with God.” Or they will may share a testimony about a time that they “fell out of fellowship with Christ.” Have you ever thought about your relationship with Christ this way? Have you ever wondered if you’re out of fellowship with him?
Let’s pause here and be reminded that Paul is writing to the Corinthian church. Frankly, they’re embarrassingly sinful. They’re divisive, fleshly, lustful, rude, selfish, arrogant, and downright unloving. And it is to this same church that Paul begins his letter telling them that they ARE IN FELLOWSHIP with Jesus Christ. How is that possible? Because God is faithful. Not them. You see, fellowship with God was never about them. And it’s never been about you either. Or your performance. Or your self-righteousness. Or your lack of sin. And it’s definitely not about how you feel today.
It’s all of CHRIST. Paul uses the word Christ ten times in the first ten verses of 1 Corinthians. Our faith is not in concepts, ideas, principles, or systems. It is in the person of Jesus Christ and his completed work for us on the cross. Which means fellowship with Christ is all about God’s grace. Paul’s prayer for the church is laden with grace. And it is this grace alone that ensures that we will make it guiltless to the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sinning doesn’t break our fellowship with Christ. In fact, that’s when the partnership with Jesus is most active. The battle inside us, between the flesh and the Spirit, that IS the fellowship at work, the partnership, the koinonia. If we are partners with God in making us holy, and if that partnership was “broken” each time we sin, then in what way would God be working holiness in us? In what way would he be sanctifying us? By breaking fellowship? By turning his back? By leaving us alone? No. Remember, the Father broke fellowship with Jesus on the cross so that he would never have to break fellowship with us.
“Well Brady, it’s not God who breaks fellowship, it’s me.” Do you really think your sin has that kind of power? Do you really think that the sin that Christ died for, shed his blood for, gave his eternal life for, and cast into the sea of forgetfulness, can overpower the faithfulness of God? Paul didn’t think so. Do you?
“To live is Christ” is unbroken fellowship with Christ. A partnership with Jesus that will never end because God is faithful. A partnership with Jesus that is then lived out in the community of love where we learn to trust God’s love for us and share his love with one another.
Do you ever feel like your fellowship with God is broken?
You in Christ
How can God’s grace allow you to trust that you are in unbroken fellowship with God?
Christ in you
How can you live out your fellowship with Christ through fellowship with the church community this week?
Playlist: Fellowship songs.