1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom you were called to the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THIS FELLOWSHIP? It is something more than discipleship or even friendship. It is partnership. It is a form of the word which is used when the sons of Zebedee are described as "partners with Simon," and when the early Christians at Jerusalem are said to have "had all things common." St. Paul held that heathen worshippers of demons were sharers with the demons - made common cause with them; and that, on the other hand, the worshippers of God in Christ were sharers with Christ, and made common cause with him, having a common interest in the "day of grace," and destined to a common inheritance in the day of glory. He was theirs, and they were his. It was a partnership which God's purpose had contemplated from of old, which his Spirit had constituted, and which his faithfulness was pledged to maintain and defend. Fail not to observe the fulness of the designation - "his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." Christians are made sons of God by adoption, and, "if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ." But the inheritance is not yet. This is the day of service, perhaps of suffering. Therefore let us consider the fellowship with the Father of which the Son Jesus Christ was conscious in the time of his service and sorrow on the earth; for the holy calling is into the fellowship of the Son. In the Gospel according to St. John it is shown that our Saviour had not only an unbroken communion of heart and purpose with the Father in heaven, but also a conscious participation with the Father. All things that the Father has were his. No practical line of division could be drawn between the Father's will and his will, the Father's works and his works. As in eternal essence, so also in operation, he and the Father were one. The Father was always with him. He spoke words which he had heard with his Father. He did works which were the Father's works, which indeed the Father dwelling in him performed. He received and kept men whom the Father had given to him out of the world. The very hatred which he encountered was the hatred of the world to the Father; and the glory for which he looked was glory with the Father above the reach of human scorn. Now, it is into participation with the Son as thus participating with the Father that Christians are admitted by adoption, in so far as it is possible for the human to share with the Divine. Made one with Christ through faith, they also have communion with him in the sense of having a common cause and interest with him. His Father is their Father, and his God their God. The same Spirit that rested on him is imparted to them. The same works that he did, they do also. The adversaries that they encounter hated him before they hated them. The path which he trod. is the path for them also. His cause is their concern; and their cause is his concern. Nay, the very love with which the Father loved the Son is in and on them also; and their hope of glory is the hope to be with him and. behold his glory. Thus the fellowship means more than friendship. It is participation with Christ. His disciples are in his work, waiting to enter into his rest; in his battle, looking to share his victory; and, if need be, co-suffering with him, long to be also co-glorified.
II. HOW IS THIS FELLOWSHIP CONSTITUTED? By the gracious call of God. The apostle spoke of the transfer of the Corinthian Christians from their old and sinful fellowships to a new and sacred one, proceeding on the true ideal and heavenly calling, of the Church, notwithstanding actual defects and faults which he saw and. reproved in the particular Christian community there, and in some of its individual members. Heathen society was in his view a region of darkness; Christian society a region of light. The one was a temple of idols; the other a temple of God. The one was the fellowship of Belial; the other the fellowship of Christ. The transition from the one to the other was by compliance with a call of God, which was a public call to all men in the mouths of preachers of the gospel, an effectual call of the Holy Spirit in all who believed and obeyed.
III. HOW IS THE FELLOWSHIP MANIFESTED, AND SO THE CALLING MADE SURE?
1. In resolutely breaking away from evil associations. Read in the Book of Proverbs how "the wicked join hand in hand," and young persons are ruined by casting in their lot with sinners who entice them. Read in this Epistle the homely saying that "bad company corrupts good manners." And depend on it that it is as needful as ever to shun the society of evil doers and scoffers. The tendency of the time is to obliterate sharp distinctions on moral grounds, to suggest pleasant compromises, and get rid of all that is difficult or stern in the obligations of Christian consistency. But those who really obey the call of God in Christ Jesus have no choice but to follow the direction of his Word, cost what it may, and therefore must decline intimacy with such as make light of that Word, and must not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of their minds.
2. In adherence to those who retain and obey the doctrine once for all delivered to the saints. No other conditions should be required. To confine fellowship to those of our own party and of our own way of thinking all round indicates sectarian zeal or self complacency rather than brotherly love, The Corinthians broke into parties and set up rival names. In their assemblies, and even at the Eucharistic Supper, individuals courted observation and scrambled for precedence over others. It was sadly inconsistent with the fact that God had called them to the fellowship of his Son. It is well to be warned in this matter, so as to have patience one with another, avoid party spirit, and cherish regard for all who, having the doctrine and Spirit of Jesus Christ, are and. must be in the holy fellowship.
3. In exhibiting the disposition and mind of Christ. They who have a new life in union and communion with Christ must feel, speak, and act accordingly, putting away evil passions and all deceit, and putting on a meek, compassionate, and honest heart. In the third chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians St. Paul beautifully expounds this holy obligation, and imparts these two pregnant counsels: "Let the peace of Christ rule [arbitrate] in your hearts;" "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." - F.
Parallel VersesKJV: God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.