About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
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
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
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.