Friday, June 12, 2015

Drawn Up Into the Divine Dance

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
Our fellowship, says John, is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus. The Greek word for “fellowship” is koinonia, and speaks of partnership and participation, of community and what is shared in common.

The Trinity is its own community, its own koinonia. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have joyful and eternal fellowship with each other. Early Church Fathers referred to their relationship as a perichoresis, a divine interpenetration or interweaving with each other. Three persons, perfectly united in One — God.

How is it, then, that we could even begin to have fellowship with the Three-in-One? What could we possibly have in common that would enable us to enjoy partnership and participation with God? The answer is found in Jesus the Messiah. 
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (1 John 1:1-2)
John and the apostles experienced him in his humanity. They could see him, hear him, touch him — he was as real to them as they were to each other — yet they came to understand that he is the Word of life who was from the beginning, who was with God and, indeed, is God (John 1:1). They recognized him both in his divinity and in his humanity, the two perfectly joined together in one — Jesus the God-Man.

Our fellowship with God, however, is not simply that Jesus participates in human nature with us. It goes much deeper than that: Through Jesus the Messiah, we participate in the divine nature.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4)
The Greek word for “participate” here is koinonos, from which comes koinonia, the word for “fellowship.” In Jesus the Messiah, we who were created to be like God in the first place now share in the divine nature — he gathers us up into himself. By his divine nature, the life of Messiah at work in us by the Holy Spirit, we participate in holy community with God, drawn up into the divine dance of the Three, to enjoy loving fellowship with them forever.