The Believer’s Fellowship with Christ
[What does God’s Word say about the nature of the believer’s union and fellowship with Christ and His people? Theologian A. A. Hodge summarized it this way.]
1st. They [believers] have a community with him [Christ] in his covenant standing, and rights. Forensically they are rendered “complete in him.” His righteousness and his Father is theirs. They receive the adoption in him, and are accepted as to both their persons and services in the beloved. They are sealed by his Holy Spirit of promise; in him obtain an inheritance; sit with him on his throne and behold his glory. (Rom. 8. 1; Col. 2. 10; Eph. 1.,6,11,13; Phil. 3. 8,9 …) [“…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 2:10]
2nd. They have fellowship with him in the transforming, assimilating power of his life, making them like him; every grace of Jesus reproducing itself in them; “of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace. . .”[John 1:16].
3rd. This leads to their fellowship with Christ in their experience, in their labors, sufferings, temptations, and death… [“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,…To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Col. 1:24,29]
4th. Also to Christ’s rightful fellowship with them in all they possess.(Prov. 19:17; Rom. 14:8; 1 Cor. 6:19,20). [“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Cor. 6:19,20]
5th. Also the consequence that, in the spiritual reception of the holy sacraments [ordinances], they do really hold fellowship with him. They are “baptised into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). “The bread we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ; the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ” (1 Cor. 10:16; 1 Cor. 11:26; John 6:51-56).
6th. This leads also to the fellowship of believers with one another through him, that is, to the communion of saints. [“that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ … But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:3,7]
[In light of these truths, may God’s fellowship with us cause our cup to run over; may His life in us provide the means of encouraging relationships with our bothers and sisters in the faith.]
Alexander Archibald Hodge [1823-1886], Outlines of Theology, 484, 485. Quoted in Elmer Towns, Understanding the Deeper Life, ch. 5.
[Although the Reformed understanding of sanctification (as taught by Hodge) has differences from the Keswick perspective (that characterizes GraceNotebook), this theme of union with Christ is precious in both viewpoints. Bracketed content added; Scripture quotes from NKJV.]