Communion with God in Christ
When Adam fell from innocence into sin, he lost precious communion with God (Gen 3). All people, Adam’s posterity, are conceived in sin and have a sin nature (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:1–3). Sin maintains the post-fall separation between God and man.
It is God who closes the separation with whom He chooses (Rom 11:5). This was planned from long ago (Eph 1:4–5). It was executed in reality (Rom 5:10), by God in Christ, reconciling His elect church to Himself (2 Cor 5:18–20). The application of God’s gracious reconciliation of sinners comes to His chosen people (1 Pet 2:9), by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (M 3:11; Acts 1:5; 2:38; 10:45; 1 Cor 12:13).
Grace abounds to ungodly sinners (Rom 5:6), who enter communion with God, by faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (Jn 3:16). This communion can never be lost, broken, or discarded (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:35–39; Heb 13:5). Communion is protected by God’s establishment of His covenant of grace. God keeps His Word of promise, being faithful and true (Rev 3:14; 19:11). Redeemed humanity, the beloved church of Christ (Eph 5:25), has blessed assurance of continued communion in glory (Rev 21:3, 7).
The faithfulness of the Mediator of this covenant is sure (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). Our Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect God-Man, doing His perfect work, gives the Christian confidence that He who began a good work in her will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). In His offices of prophet, priest, and king, He does all His holy will (Eph 1:11), which was decreed from eternity (Ps 148:6), sourced in God’s eternal good pleasure.
Within this unbreakable agreement between God the Father and God the Son, who represents His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9), as its Federal Head (Rom 5:12–21), is the place of communion. This was typified in the Yom Kippur sacrifice and offering, of the blood of the unblemished lamb, by the high priest in the Temple (Lev 16). Communion in the holiest of holies was exclusively permitted by the blood upon the mercy seat. God had mercy on Israel, by the death of the substitute (particular redemption).
Christians have permanent access, thus, permanent communion with God because of Christ’s work on the Cross, on their behalf (Mt 1:21; Eph 3:12; 2 Cor 5:18–20). When an elect, redeemed soul is brought into union with Christ, the communion is spiritual, that is, in the Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11; 1 Jn 4:13).
Communion is a give and take relationship between God and man. It all takes place, “in Christ.” Christians are in Christ, and Christ is in them, by His indwelling Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11), given as a gift to His adopted children (Rom 5:5; 8:15, 23). God communicates Himself to whom He wills (Mt 11:27; Jn 1:12–23; Rom 9:15–16).
An open communication is initiated by God, through the preaching of His Word, the Bible (Lk 4:18). It is the Spirit who works through the preacher (Rom 15:19); and it is the Spirit, in the newly baptized soul, who receives the Word and causes that soul to believe (Acts 2:41; Rom 10:17), giving faith to him or her, as a gift of grace (Phil 1:29; Eph 2:8–9).
Christian communion with God is Trinitarian. Because the Father, Son, and Spirit all work distinctly in one’s salvation, distinct gratitude and praise is warranted to each Person in the Godhead. In other words, love abounds from each Person (Eph 1:4; Rom 5:5, 8) and love is returned to each Person.
Love trusts. It rests with confidence in the promises of covenant love that never fails (1 Cor 13:8). It acknowledges abounding grace (Rom 12:3, 6; 15:15), which is the powerful work of God, who is always giving good gifts to His beloved (Jas 1:17).
The Bible puts this love communion into recognizable relationships: conjugal lovers (Song of Songs); adopted children (Rom 8:15, 23); friendship (Jas 2:23); Lord and slave (Eph 6:6); etc. Being in vital relationship with the invisible God requires faith (Heb 11:6). Today, communion with God is by faith, but the day is coming when we will see Him face to face (1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2)). Today, it is a token, a foretaste of better communion.
Tasting this communion is the purpose of the Lord’s Table. We feast on the Word of God by the Spirit (Ps 34:8), and our souls are satisfied. At the communion table (Ps 23:4; Mk 7:28; Lk 13:29; 1 Cor 10:21), the same grace is extended to God’s people in their flesh. The communicated message is identical.
By faith, we apprehend all the benefits of Christ (Eph 1:3). He feeds us Himself. He is the bread from heaven (Jn 6:41), the bread of life to those who hunger for Him and receive Him (Jn 1:12–13; 6:50). The symbols of bread and wine represent His body and blood given to us (1 Cor 11:27). We respond with thanksgiving (2 Cor 9:15), as we remember the love He demonstrated toward us, in His death on the cross (Jn 15:13; Rom 5:8; 1 Cor 11:26).
It is the devil’s duty to disrupt our communion with God because we grow strong in our faith, by the means of grace (ie. prayer, Word, sacrament, church, etc.). These provisional means facilitate our role in communion. We are brought into the service of worship, which we do with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mt 22:37). Our duty of discipline is a labor of love. It is immersion in the richness of communion with the Ones who loved us in election, redemption, and regeneration.
With your mind set upon the things above (Col 3:2); with your heart fully devoted to the Lover of your soul (Gal 2:20); with the time allotted to you (Job 14:5); with your eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:2), simply enjoy fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Communion with God was by His design. It has been made a glorious reality by Him, and never forget that in the death of your body, your communion is only enhanced (Phil 1:23). So seek communion with God, until you see it fully realized in the glory to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18).
Spokane Valley, Washington
June 28, 2022