The purpose of this declaration is not that its hearers may have life, as is the case with the Gospel of John (John 10:10); rather, it is that they may have fellowship with the apostles, whose fellowship “is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” In this message we are considering the mystery of life. But in 1 John 1:3 we have another mystery, the mystery of fellowship. What does the term fellowship mean? It is not easy to come up with a satisfactory definition. Fellowship is the flowing of the life we have received. Life is a Person, the Son of God. When we receive this life, it begins to flow within us. Like the blood flowing in our veins, it is never at a standstill. All the time we are going about our daily living, the blood keeps circulating. Physical exercise keeps us healthy by further stimulating our circulation. If our circulation stops, we are finished. Fellowship is the scriptural term for circulation. Our eyes are in the “fellowship,” as are our shoulders and our feet. All the members of our body are in the fellowship; the blood circulates to all of them.
Fellowship is also like the current of electricity. When electricity is in motion, it is called a current. If you check your electrical meter when your appliances are operating, you will see that the current moves when you use the electricity. If you do not use any electricity, there is no flow of the current. The meter has nothing to register. When the appliances are switched on, however, they receive the current of electricity. That current is the fellowship. If you are not “switched on” and partaking of the flow of “electricity,” you are not in the fellowship. Like an appliance, your functioning results from your participating in the current.
The Lord Jesus as the divine Person is life to us. When we receive Him, He comes into us and we are put into Him. This life then circulates as fellowship. The life received issues in fellowship. The apostles declared life “that ye also may have fellowship.” Many Christians do not realize that once they are saved, they are in a fellowship. Fellowship is simply the flowing of the divine life within us. When life stands still, it is life; when it flows, it is fellowship.
GRACE AND LOVE
In the Gospel of John we are told that the incarnated Word dwelt among us, “full of grace and reality” (1:14). When we receive this Word who became flesh, we receive grace and truth (reality). “For of His fullness we all received, and grace upon grace” (v. 16).
In the First Epistle of John, however, the words grace and truth are replaced. Instead of grace, we are told that God is love (4:8). Instead of truth, we are told that God is light (1:5). Suppose we have a pair of chopsticks. One is called grace at the tip and love at the other tip. The other chopstick is called truth at the tip and light at the other tip. When we pick up the chopsticks and look at the tips from which we eat, we see grace and truth. If we look at the other end, however, we shall see love and light. Grace is at one end, the one facing us, and love is at the other end, facing God. The other chopstick has truth on the end facing us, while light is the tip pointed toward God.
When God came to us in the Person of the Son, He brought grace and truth. After we receive these, we return to God in the Son and find love and light. The Gospel of John presents us with the issue, grace and truth. His Epistle brings us to the source, where the Father is, and there we find love and light. When we receive the Son, we receive life and enjoy grace and truth. This life flows in us as fellowship, bringing us back to the Father, where we enjoy love and light, the source of grace and truth.
We enjoy grace and find it most sweet. But we must go on to love, which is deeper and more hidden. Grace is the expression; its source is love. These two are one. If we enjoy love, grace is included.
(Seven Mysteries in the First Epistle of John, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)