Those who have heard and believed the word of truth, the Gospel of God’s salvation, have been called into the most wonderful fellowship known on earth or in heaven. It is designated in i1 Corinthians 1:9, the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is most important to understand this, for the same Scripture shows that we can count upon the faithfulness of God in regard to it. It is the fellowship He Himself has called us into, and He will never fail those who abide in it.
All sorts of fellowships exist today, and new fellowships are being formed. Indeed, the very word itself is now constantly upon the lips of democratic politicians and worldly ecclesiastics. They are seeking to unite mankind in a fellowship which knows nothing of new birth by the word and Spirit, nor of redemption by the blood of Christ. It is the high honour of those who are redeemed to enter into the privileges of the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, for God has graciously called them by the Gospel in view of it.
Just think of the greatness of this which is to be enjoyed even now, before we are glorified with Him in heaven—the fellowship of the glorious Son of God! What can compare with it? What else can be desired by us? Moreover, we are reminded that the One into whose fellowship we are called is not only ‘God’s Son’; He is “our Lord”. His dignity as such is therefore to be esteemed by those who are called, and then they will order all their ways in the recognition of His authority as Lord. Anything that is inconsistent with His lordship will necessarily be avoided. Indeed, it is said, “Let every one who names the Name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19, N.Tr.). To continue in it would not only mar our enjoyment of the fellowship into which we are called, but it would show disloyalty to God’s Son.
Although it is in the first epistle to the Corinthians this wonderful fellowship is indicated, yet, remarkable to say, the glory of the Son of God is not unfolded in that epistle. The fact is, the saints at Corinth were carnal. They had not advanced, they were dwarfed; and the apostle could not speak to them “as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). Moreover, divisions, sects and man-following were rife among them, therefore the apostle had to remind them often of the lordship of Christ, and to call attention to His dealings in discipline (1 Cor. 11:32), to correct them.
In the second epistle, however, he recognized some progress in them, and the glory of Christ is in a measure unfolded. He says, “Beholding the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, we are transformed according to the Same image from glory to glory”. This refers to His moral glory. Again, we read, “The radiancy of the glad tidings of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”; and again, “The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”. The glory which shone on the face of Moses was surpassed by the glory which excelleth. The ministry of the Spirit by means of the gifts given from Christ on high, has in view the edifying of the assembly, the body of Christ, “until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of God’s Son” (Eph. 4:13) into whose fellowship we are called.
When the saints are spiritual, walking in the happy recognition of the lordship of Christ, the Holy Spirit is free to unfold before our glad gaze the marvellous glories of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When it is not thus with us, He has to correct us, because we are self-occupied, and not at leisure to delight our hearts in the Lord. The normal work of the Spirit is to glorify Him, as He said, “He shall not speak of Himself, He shall glorify Me”. He has been sent from Christ on high for that purpose.
So vast and varied are the glories of the Son of God, their superlative splendours outstrip the comprehension of the most spiritual saints. Like Himself they are infinite, nevertheless the Spirit who knows them all brings their precious riches within the apprehension of those who do not grieve or hinder Him. Their resplendent radiancy shines as the glowing clusters of the most precious stones in God’s mineral creation, those gems of rare beauty, which shed forth their rich colours and brilliant lights in such bright and variegated diversity that the most experienced eye fails to detect more than a comparatively small number of the lustrous rays which they so bountifully radiate at every movement; nevertheless, the more closely they are examined the more clearly their manifold beauties are seen, and with deeper interest their iridescent charms are recognized. The city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, is seen in Revelation 21, with the foundations of its jasper wall “adorned with every precious stone”, and its twelve gates, twelve pearls, while the street of it is of pure gold, as transparent glass. It is the glory of God, however, which shines from Christ, that enlightens the city, and it is by that light which it radiates that the nations of the earth are yet to walk.
Before that day arrives, even now as the assembly, the bride of Christ, awaits His coming again; the Spirit edifies, cheers and satisfies our hearts by showing us Christ’s glory and by telling us of Christ’s love. The distinctions which culminate in the Son of God and which shine in illustrious perfection from Him, the Spirit shows to the gladdened gaze of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ and who share in the new creation in Himself.
“Amidst His own the Spirit still
Bears witness of His glory there,
And from the sphere which He doth fill
Brings knowledge of His fullness here.”
Those who are called into the fellowship of God’s Son, and walk in the recognition of His lordship, receive the benefits of this enriching ministry of the Spirit of God, and they grow in grace and in the excellent knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
“As they rest within the circle
Where love’s treasures are displayed,
There they drink the living waters,
Taste the joys that never fade.”
It is said through the Apostle John, who wrote of the glory of the Son of God beyond all others, “These things write we unto you that your joy may be full”. That was given to us after the failure of the assemblies was an accomplished fact, that therefore need not hinder us being led by the Spirit into the fullness indicated. It is only for us to walk in the path marked out for us, to “practise the truth” as it is revealed, to follow righteousness, faith, love and peace with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
In all the Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ interpreted to the two wondering disciples the things concerning Himself. That made their hearts burn within them for very gladness. Such ministry by the Spirit from the writings of the Spirit to those who are indwelt by the Spirit does exactly the same today. In Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon and others the Spirit has foreshadowed some of Christ’s official glories. In the Gospels we see the beauties of His moral perfections, and in all His personal glories are plainly to be seen. So multitudinous are these distinctions, however, whether they be official, moral or personal, that eloquent volumes could not encompass their infinitude.
Moses failed, Aaron failed, David failed, and Solomon also; but the Son of God stands out eternally glorious as the unfailing One. In official, moral and personal perfection, all abides in Him in undimmed glory for ever. Some have had the official glory of kingship, but have been utterly without moral worth. Eli’s sons had the official distinction of being priests, and the personal distinction of being Aaron’s family, but they were morally debased. Every official glory, every moral beauty and every personal perfection in the, Son of God shines in unsullied splendour. When they saw His glorious majesty in the Holy Mount, having been withdrawn and elevated above other influences, Peter tells us, “He received from God the Father honour and glory, such a voice being uttered to Him by the excellent glory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I have found My delight”.
We are called by God into the fellowship of such an One, into the fellowship of God’s Son. He is our Lord also. May our walk, ways and words show that we value this high honour. God is faithful always in regard to this fellowship into which He Himself has called us.
A difficulty may be a real one, but it is only unbelief of heart that will make it an obstacle, if on the path of God’s will. Faith reckons upon God, and difficulties are nothing to Him.