Gospel Fellowship and Holiness
The gospel is very good news. Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised so that we might be without blame or guilt (Romans 4:25). Everybody who believes in Him is born again into God's family to enjoy the privilege of two new relationships: with Him and with all His other children. The Gospel leads to fellowship, a true sharing of hearts and lives which gives believers a deep desire to be together as 'brothers and sisters' (as Paul writes 18 times in this letter) and to serve one another.
As we appreciate the love God has shown to us, He stirs up love in our hearts for other believers and those who do not yet believe. Genuine love always overflows into sacrificial giving and is one of the identifying marks of the Christian faith. Giving, fellowship, sharing, communion all come from the same Greek word. There is something wrong if we share in the Lord's Supper but do not share with our brothers and sisters.
This fellowship is all part of our worship of Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ who pour love into our hearts so that we can live holy lives. Holiness is not only Godward piety but is principally expressed in the way we relate with other people. Romans 12:1-2 puts it like this, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.'
When Jesus returns, there will also be a great reunion of all the believers we have encountered during our lives. The prospect of that day should encourage us to love them now as Christ has loved us. Practical love flows from the gospel but some have forgotten that the purpose of their sacrificial giving is to bring glory to the Lord (Matthew 5:16). It is an opportunity to explain the gospel (1 Peter 3:15). It is meaningless to show love and not explain where it comes from: tell them about Jesus, whose love you have received, so that others will be drawn closer to Him. So wherever you are today, at home or work or enjoying leisure, be a true gospel person. Love by giving sacrificially, and love by explaining why you are giving yourself.
© Dr Paul Adams