Called into the Fellowship of Christ
God . . . is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
In last Wednesday’s reflection, I focused on 1 Corinthians 1:2, where Scripture reveals that all of us have been called by God to be his holy people. The Apostle Paul picks up that theme of calling once again in verse 9 of chapter 1.
It’s a little hard to see in the New Living Translation, which reads: “[God] has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1:9). This may render the sense of the verse accurately. But, in fact, the word translated here as “invited” is eklethete, which is a past tense (aorist) passive form of the verb kaleo, “to call.” The word translated as “partnership” is koinonia, which is often expressed in English as “fellowship.” In the Greek language of the first-century A.D., koinonia could indeed refer to a business partnership, as well as a friendship, or even intimacy in marriage. Therefore, a more literal translation of 1 Corinthians 1:9 might speak of God, “through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here’s the good news: God has called you into relationship with his Son. The Father wants you to know Christ and live your life in communion with him. A central feature of that fellowship is partnership. When you say “yes” to Jesus, you join with him in the work of redeeming the world. You help to proclaim and live out the implications of his death and resurrection, so that the world might be reconciled to Christ and made right under his authority.
Notice that this is not something you do alone. Your partnership with Jesus is shared among all of those who acknowledge him as Lord and Savior. Together, as partners with Jesus, we do his work in the world. The fact that God has called us to this means it is not an option. Serving the Lord in the world, in the fellowship of his people, is something he desires for each and every one of us.
We fulfill this call to service, in part, by our participation in the church, the body of Christ, where our ministry is essential to the health and growth of the church (see Eph. 4:11-16). But we also live out our partnership with Christ in the world, wherever God has placed us. We serve as Christ’s partners in our workplaces, school, and community organizations. We exercise our partnership through our purchases, our giving, and our voting. In all that we do, we have a chance to respond to the call of God to be partners with Christ.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you think of yourself as being called by God into fellowship with Christ and his people? What difference does this make in your life? How might you live today if you saw yourself as a partner of Christ?PRAYER: Gracious, Sovereign God, what a privilege to have been called by you into the fellowship of your Son. Thank you!
May I live each day—including today—in that fellowship, opening my heart to you all day, receiving your guidance and power. Help me to remember that fellowship with you is not just a one-on-one relationship, though I am blessed to be able to share intimately with you. Your fellowship is a family of those who have heeded your call. May I live in relationship with you and your people each day.
Thank you, Lord, for the partnership dimension of your fellowship. What an honor to have been called by you as a coworker in your redemptive work. Help me to serve you well in this partnership. Give me eyes to see this very day how I might live as your partner in every task and every relationship.
All praise be to you, O God my Father, because you call me into the fellowship of your Son. Amen.