By: Josh Blackmer
Two men, Vizzini and Inigo, stand on top of the Cliffs of Insanity. Vizzini cuts the rope that the man in black is using to climb. The man in black didn’t fall. Vizzini shouts, “He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!” Inigo replies, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” We’ve all been there, not on the Cliffs of Insanity, but maybe using a word incorrectly or not understanding it completely—like literally, for example.
How many of us know what fellowship means? It is a very common word in Christian theology. For me, my mind goes from fellowship to relationship and all the things that need to be in place to have a relationship. I have never paused long enough to enjoy the vast simplicity of that concept. John wrote, “And indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3b). As you read that verse, it is easy to plug in the concept of relationship and move on, but we would be missing something.
Acts chapter two highlights the core concept of fellowship. “And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.”
(Acts 2:44-45). The word “common” is the Greek word koinos, which is the root word for “fellowship”—koinonia. The significance can be summed up in this way. If I have fellowship with God and He with me, then all of God’s resources are at my disposal and all of mine are at His (G. Campbell Morgan, The Unfolding Message of the Bible, pg. 364).
This fuller understanding of fellowship deepens our comprehension of Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” All the blessings of heaven—God’s love, grace, mercy, patience, and promises—are made possible through fellowship. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). In the true nature of fellowship, all of who I am should be at the disposal of God. “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). So, the bond of fellowship demands an open and honest relationship.
We need to also see that the opposite is true. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). Paul raises the question, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). You cannot be in darkness and in communion with God. The Corinthian letter tells us that cannot happen even in nature. If we are outside the fellowship of God, then we are outside of His spiritual blessings (Matt. 25:30).