Communion of the Saints

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

The words “fellowship” and “communion” in the King James Version are both translations of the same word (koinonia) in the Greek New Testament. The fellowship of which the New Testament speaks is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian life. In the early days, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. . . . And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:42, 46).

It wasn’t long before heresies, schisms, and non-Christian practices began to fragment the churches; nevertheless, fellowship is still a vital biblical doctrine toward which all Christians should strive.

Today, with our multiplicity of sects and denominations, the concept of the communion of the saints seems almost an anomaly. Yet there is still a very real and blessed fellowship among Bible-believing Christians of all denominations, and this is one of the great blessings of the Christian life.

True fellowship, of course, must be based on truth in doctrine and practice. As our text indicates, real spiritual fellowship with fellow Christians must be based, first of all, on fellowship with the Father and the Son. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). Christian fellowship is not, as many seem to think, built on food and fun, but on truth and light. HMM

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