One of the greatest blessings which a person can enjoy is Divine Fellowship. Because of the nature of this fellowship, it is a blessing which is available only to the faithful child of God. The word, as used in the New Testament, comprehends and includes all of the spiritual blessings which God bestows upon the faithful, along with the corresponding responsibilities and obligations which are enjoined upon the faithful. Again, let it be observed for emphasis that no one save the faithful call enjoy Divine Fellowship, because it is a spiritual blessing from God and is, therefore, to be found only in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
The word "fellowship" as used in the New Testament is from the Greek word "koinonia," which has this general definition: "fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse." These specific definitions are given: "1. The share which one has in anything, participation . . . 2. Intimacy . . . 3. A benefaction jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, p. 352).
The word is used in the New Testament in such a way as to illustrate these definitions. "If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any conclusion of love, if any fellowship of the spirit..."(Phil. 2:1). The Christian enjoys fellowship (association) with the Holv Spirit, because he participates in the work which the Spirit has revealed through Inspiration. "God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (I Cor. 1:9). As the individual becomes a Christian and lives as a Christian ought to live, he participates (has fellowship) in the dignity and blessings of the Son of God, made possible by the shed blood of Christ (I John 1:3, 7). Participating in this Divine Fellowship, then, is equivalent to becoming a Christian and living as a Christian.
Christians have fellowship, not only with the Divine Personalities, but also with one another. Paul said, "I thank God for your fellowship in the furtherance of the gospel" (Phil. 1:3-5). Furthermore, it is said of the early Jerusalem church that they "continued stedfastly in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship . . ." (Acts 2:42). Thayer, in the process of defining "koinonia", offers this comment as to this use of the word: "Which fellowship, according to John's teaching, consists in the fact that Christians are partakers in common of the same mind as God and Christ, and of the blessings arising therefrom" (Thayer's Lexicon, p. 352). This fellowship, depending upon circumstances, may require a material (financial) outlay. "Beseeching us with much entreatv in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints" (2 Cor. 8:4). ". . . No church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye onlv" (Phil. 4:15).
Christians are to speak as the oracles of God (I Pet. 4:11). For this reason, it is deplorable and tragic when Christians will use the word "fellowship" in reference to association which is purely social in nature. The word is NOT so used in the "oracles of God." Fellowship, in the New Testament sense, is a Divine, SPIRITUAL blessing and responsibility. Christians (as individuals) may, and frequently do, have social association and companionship with sinners, but they cannot, and MUST NOT, have fellowship with them (2 Cor. 6:14-18). Fellowship is a major blessing, and the word belongs in the vocabulary of the Christian, but let us seek to use it as "the oracles of God."
Truth Magazine IV:7, p. 1