What is communion with God? In the first epistle of John we are told that Christians fellowship with “the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3) The Christians of John’s day were marginalized, despised, and persecuted. Why would anyone want to become a Christian? Yet, for all the apparent disadvantages, it was not only desirable, but honorable and glorious. “Truly,” John says, “our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Due to our sin, no man, woman, or child, in their natural born condition has fellowship with God. God is light. We are darkness. What communion does light have with darkness? God is life. We are dead. God is love. We are enmity. So what friendship can there be between God and man? In our natural born condition we do not have Christ, and are without hope and without God in the world. (Eph. 2:12) We are “alienated from the life of God” through the ignorance that is in us. (Eph. 4:18). The prophet Amos says “two cannot walk together unless they agree with each other.” (Amos 3:3) With the great separation between God and man caused by our sin. From our side there can be no fellowship, no communion with God.
But God in his grace has provided a way back to fellowship with him—through faith in Jesus Christ. Where by ourselves we can at most fear and dread God, as our holy and just judge, through Christ we can be reconciled to him. Brought back into communion and life with God. Through Jesus Christ the way into the holy presence of God has been opened. Because of Christ, believers can now come into God’s presence with boldness and confidence. (Eph. 3:12; Heb. 10:20; Eph. 2:13, 14, 18) God has unilaterally shown us grace, mercy, and love in Christ. Christ is the foundation, the way to communion with God. He is the way to come into God’s presence without fear.
Communion is sharing together the good things which delight those in fellowship with each other. David and Jonathan enjoyed communion: close friendship, love and care for each other. But their communion, their fellowship, was nothing compared to that between God and his people. This fellowship of love is far more wonderful. Those who enjoy communion with God delight in his giving himself to us, and delight to give ourselves and all that he desires to him. It is a pure, holy, and good communion. It is a communion of peace: peace between God and his people through the blood of Jesus. It begins here and now, and will be made perfect and complete when we enter resurrection glory with Christ.
Communion with God means that the Christian has the privilege of knowing God and being known by him. The Christian has the privilege of talking with God in prayer, and God talking with him by his Word and Spirit. The Christian has the privilege of God’s presence with and in him, and the joy of knowing he is one day going to be brought into the full, brilliant glory of God’s presence. He will see and commune with God Incarnate: Christ Jesus, God the Son, the ascended Redeemer and King of glory. The Christian has the privilege of being restored to what he was made to be, by the One who made him and all things. The Christian has the privilege of enjoying God’s creation, with God, both now and forever. The Christian is welcomed into the family of God. The Christian has the privilege of being comforted and shepherded through this life, and all of the future, by the Triune God who is working all things together for his good. The Christian has the great joy of knowing that as good as these things get here and now, they are just the beginning installment of what is yet to come in perfect, beautiful fullness—because God is his God, and delights in him. What could be better?
Based on John Owen, “The Saints have Communion with God” in Communion with God (Banner of Truth, 2008).