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“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 1:7
True fellowship implies love, sympathy, a mutual sharing of good or ill, common principles, common interests, and a common aim. It may exist between parties on equal footing, or between those whose conditions are widely different. Where the latter is the case, benevolence on the part of the superior is shown in acts of favor and blessing, and on the part of the inferior, in gratitude and such returns in action as are possible.
Than such fellowship there is nothing more desirable and more helpful to the saints in the narrow and difficult way they are called to tread. But while we should ever seek and cultivate such fellowship, we need to be very careful to see that our fellowship one with another, is based upon correct principles, else that which was designed as a blessing, will be found to our great disadvantage.
Realizing this, the Apostle Paul admonishes us, saying: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness … or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Cor. 6:14,15.) “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” It is impossible. Let us see to it, then, that our fellowship is based upon the sure foundation referred to in this text—the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth us from all sin—and that our rejoicing and communion be of the increasing light as we walk together.
And this great blessing, the Apostle John tells us, it is our privilege to have. He says we may have fellowship with our Father, and with his Son, and also with other saints who are walking in the light—the truth.
“This then,” says John, “is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” The truth is all clear and plain in God’s sight, and he, by his Spirit, through his Word, will lead all of his children into light (truth) in its due season, if they are in actual fellowship with him. John states this very emphatically, saying, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (Ver. 6.)
Ah, John, says some brother, I think you are too severe; I know many very good Christians who say they are entirely consecrated to God, and only want to know and do his will, and truly they do many wonderful works, and yet they walk in darkness, knowing nothing of the blessed truths now made so plain to us. And not only so, but they refuse to hear it and do not want it. Yet they claim to have fellowship with God; how is it? John’s answer is very plain and may seem to many, severe, yet we apprehend it is the severity of truth. He says, “They lie, and do not the truth.” They don’t want to know it, because they don’t want to do it.
God speaks to his children through his Word, and he is acquainted with all our circumstances and hears our prayers, but it is a great mistake to imagine that we have communion and fellowship with God, when we only speak to him in prayer, and never examine the Word to hear him speak to us. We may speak and then listen, but we need to hear much more than we say. Thus we have communion, interchange of thought, fellowship. None can thus commune with God without becoming acquainted in some measure with his truth, and if they are in harmony and fellowship with him, his plans and purposes will become theirs. If they do not desire to obey the truth, they will deceive themselves in an endeavor to disbelieve it, and to substitute something else in its place. And while doing this many hold to the form of sound words while denying their import.
But if as children of the light we walk in the light, not only shall we have fellowship with our Father and our Lord, but we shall also have fellowship with other saints who are walking in the same narrow way. R. W.
— August, 1884 —