The Beacon Lights staff asked me to write an article on the communion of the saints. I was glad to oblige for we all need to be reminded about this aspect of our lives. As Christians, why is it so vital to have communion of the saints? It is one way in which we express our gratitude to God for that work of salvation which He has performed in us.
It would be helpful if we first defined what the communion of the saints is. According to I John 1:3, communion of the saints is fellowship that the saints have with God and Christ, and with fellow saints. This fellowship is rooted in Christ’s love towards us. Without Christ’s love, there is no communion of the saints. Communion of the saints is putting the brother or sister’s welfare ahead of our own. We care nothing for ourselves. Our love for Christ is bubbling over. We want our fellow saints to experience that love. This love for our fellow saints can take many forms. It may be helping a brother through a trial God has placed upon him. It may be just a kind word.
We probably have little trouble expressing the communion of saints within our own small circle of friends, but when we must show our love towards others, not in that circle, we shy away from that. Gal. 6:2-3 states, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” This text points out that it is our duty as Christians to help and give assistance to other Christian brethren as circumstances may require. It is our duty to help not just those we want to help, but all Christians.
What does this help consist of? First of all, pray for your fellow Christians and their needs. Bring their needs before the throne of grace. Give your assistance and support whether it be in a spiritual matter or if the brother has a physical need. Help to build up your fellow Christian so that he too, fully experiences the grace of God. So often we are so concerned with ourselves and our own selfish desires, that we forget all about our brother and his needs. Help him to fill his needs.
Too often, we try to build our own selves up by pulling our brother down. We seem to think that by making him look bad, we will look better to others. We do this by ignoring those who aren’t in our little clique! Or worse, we destroy someone’s reputation by talking behind his back; we tell lies and half-truths that make it impossible to have Christian fellowship with that person. Even the truth should remain untold if it is damaging to someone.
Scripture is filled with passages that teach us how to treat one another. Romans 12:10 states, “Be ye kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Phil. 2:3 says, “Let each esteem other better than themselves.” So then we are to view our fellow Christians in love; not as someone who is odd or weird, not even as one who is our equal, but as someone who is better than we. We must always seek to build him up. We must never destroy our brother by ignoring him or his needs. So often we see only what we want to see, help only those we want to help, and fellowship only with those we want to fellowship with. That is not right. God commands us to love one another.
Christian fellowship with one another must be an important part of our lives. A good starting point is to belong to societies and be an active member. Well, you say, society is a real drag. Why? Only because you get out of it exactly what you put in. If you don’t prepare and participate, how can you possibly expect to get anything out of society. Societies are not to entertain us. but rather, to help one another grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.
James 1:19-20 gives us an excellent guide on our relationship to our brother. It states, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Remember those words when you are dealing with other Christians. Remember that we are all part of one body: the body of Christ.