The Essence and Core of the Spiritual Life. Part 2; Fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ

I took this by the lake side

 Our life force flows from the fellowship we have with the Trinity.  Last time we looked at the fellowship we have with the father.  We cannot go directly to the Father.  God is eternal and infinite, and we are only finite created creatures.  That does not mean that the road to the Father is closed.  It cannot be closed because God is love.   It is by the two hands of God that we can come to the Father.  Although Jesus is God the Son, he took on a finite form and became a human being.  Our Lord Jesus lived, died and resurrected two thousand years ago; so how can we have a relationship with God the Son today?  The Holy Spirit our Comforter the third person of the Trinity transcends time. We also have Scripture, and this witness of the original Apostles of Christ are mediated to us by the Holy Spirit.  There is one invisible Church made up of believers who have fallen asleep, the present saints and those who will come after us.

Herman Bavinck who has gone on before us has left us with some beautiful writings and today he is going to teach us what it means to have fellowship with the Son of God.

We begin by asking what fellowship actually means.

One verse Bavinck quotes is:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 

I see this as a summary of the Christian faith. 

We were chosen before the foundation of the world in Christ, we were born from above in Christ, we have been crucified and died in Christ, buried with Christ, planted in Christ, raised with Christ, and we will be seated with Christ in heavenly places.

So, then my friends when we look at the list of Scriptures that Bavinck quotes, we see what real life in Christ means.  These are not empty words but rather are words spoken by the Apostles to encourage us to walk in the faith.

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We are branches of the True Vine and Christ commands us to remain in him.  The walk of faith is also a way of living, living in the Spirit.  Not living just for ourselves but living in Christ:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

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As believers we were baptized into walking with Christ.  Baptism is also a Sacrament, and it is something holy.  Baptism is an outward sign of what God has been doing in our souls.  Even as Jesus died and was raised to glory the samething is promised to us who walk in the path of our true Master:

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.  8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Romans 6:4-8

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So let us be greatly encouraged by the Scriptures that Bavinck quoted.  Below is a list of a few more. 

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15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15

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20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

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27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27

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1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2

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At the end of this paragraph Bavinck Gives us a reflection as he says:

“This fellowship also consists of a mutual interchange between Christ and believers: we receive and take on the whole Christ and give ourselves entirely and completely to him (2 Cor. 8:5). However, this is no Christification or deification of the believer, no blending, no exchanging of Christ and the believer, but a spiritual fellowship. This is not merely a moral fellowship (agreement of mind and will) but a substantial and real fellowship of Christ’s person and our persons, the closest union of Christ and us, through and in love, as in marriage.”

 

Reflection

God has done a great deal for us through Christ.  Even while we were against God without salvation or hope of eternal life God did not abandon us.  Christ was there at the creation of the world and after we messed up as the second Adam, Christ came to save us. 

I hope these truths have encouraged you and in our last session of three parts we will be looking at fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

Herman Bavinck the master theologian has given us some great verses to mediate on.  I hope and pray that in Christ we continue to grow in maturity to become more like Christ day by day.

Activity

Find a quiet place to reflect.

Think about how precious you are to Christ and how precious Christ is to you.

Bibliography

·        Reformed Ethics; Book 2 and chapter 7; page 249; By Herman Bavinck; edited by John Bolt

·        NASB Bible; quotations from Olive Tree Bible Software

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