This week we continue thinking about biblical images that furnish insight into various aspects of the Christian life. Having previously considered such images as a walk, warfare, a race and a pilgrimage, this week we think about the Christian life through the imagery of fellowship.
The idea of fellowship immediately suggests we do not walk alone. God’s presence is with us, and fellow believers are around us.
Basic to the thought of Christian fellowship is its vertical dimension. At its heart and its best, a Christian life is one of fellowship with God: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”
(1 John 1:3). Only through the saving work of Christ do we enter fellowship with God.
This truth is also declared in 1 Corinthians 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Philippians 2:1 speaks of the reality of the “fellowship of the Spirit.” This divine dimension to fellowship is one that involves the fullness of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
On our side, this fellowship with God is enjoyed and enhanced through such disciplines as Scripture reading, meditation and prayer. We must regularly open our Bible and read it. Not only must we read it, but we also must think and ponder its truth and its application to our lives.
Furthermore, we must engage in conversation with God about how with His help we can embody His truth in our practices and relationships.
Christian fellowship also has a horizontal dimension. After declaring that “God is light,” the Bible promises, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another”
(1 John 1:5, 7).
This dimension of fellowship was part of the prayer burden of Christ during the days of His flesh. Jesus prayed for all who believe in Him, saying, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20–21).
The Christian life at its biblical best is one of both divine and human fellowship. To neglect either dimension is to cripple the other dimension.