Whats a “fellow”?
“Fellowship.” The suffix “ship” in this context refers to all the people in the group defined by the noun. So here, all the “fellows.” But what’s a “fellow”? Is a “fellow” the same as a “guy?” Is Christian “fellowship” only for men?
“What is the female equivalent of fellow?” someone once asked. Though the term “fellow” is often used in reference to a male person, etymologically the word is not masculine. We kinda know this as most folk have no problem saying of a woman “She’s a fellow traveler,” or “She’s a fellow surgeon,” for example. And we know we mean both genders in phrases such as “My fellow Canadians…” or when singing at the office party “For she’s a jolly good fellow!” But in other contexts it seems strongly masculine, e.g.: “Who’s that fellow?”
Many English words have gender pairs: guy/gal; man/woman; boy/girl; lad/lass; brethren/sistren, etc. But Christ calls both genders into unity. Paul writes,
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:26-29)
It seems that in Heaven genders will be nonexistent. Jesus taught that “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). Angels are genderless beings, and scripture says we will be like them.
So, how does all this relate to our discipleship topic today, “Christian fellowship?”
Christian fellowship is rooted in something deeper than surface characteristics… something deeper than physical appearance, financial or professional influence, common interests or gender. Christian fellowship is a bond with the Spirit of God which resides in every believer. Paul wrote, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 7:16). Christians sense this when they come together. Something ‘clicks’ deep within them. They know they are coming into a unity, a family, a “fellowship of the saints.”
When it comes to “Christian fellowship” one could say the noun is Christ! Christian fellowship is that common bond we have in Him. It includes all the people in the group defined by Christ. If you belong to Him, you are among that great fellowship of all believers, the body of Christ, the Church universal!
“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)
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