About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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Partners In Faith


In 1973 I discovered the Greek word "koinonia" that is translated as "partnership" in Philemon 1:6. 


"I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ."


The simple meaning of koinonia as it pertains to human relationships is the sharing of things we hold in common.  Understanding Biblical faith in Jesus to mean we trust Him with our lives, Paul said that he, those with him, and Philemon, shared their trust in Jesus in common.  So what does that mean for us today? 


As Christians, we hold many things in common, not the least of whom is the Holy Spirit.  Beyond that we are partners [koinonia] in the faith.  Christians, are thus, a community of people who share their common trust in Jesus with each other.  This implies that our trust in Jesus is not merely an individual matter.  It is a community matter.  We collectively trust our Christian community with Jesus, which in turn, "effectively deepens our understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ."  This implies that everything we hold in common is to effectively work towards the implementation of God's will in our local community of believers, something that the church has struggled over for centuries.  Our collective existence is to serve the cause of Christ Jesus our Lord.       


Partly due to the influence of the Christian Reformation of the fifteen hundreds and the Age of Enlightenment of the seventeen hundreds, the concept of community, sharing things in common, gave way to individualism in our western nations.  This can be seen in our various national bills of individual rights, which I do appreciate.  As is the case with all of life, the cultural pendulum often swings from one extreme to another.  For this reason, in much of western culture, including the church, we have promoted individuality to such a degree that we have lost the concept of community.     


Church is more than a group of isolated individual Christians who gather in a weekly meeting.  Church is a community; believers who have been immersed into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) where they  collectively, as one unified body, share in their specific communal ministry calling for the sake of Christ.  We are indeed partners in faith.        

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