The Apostle Paul to the Romans:
“For if we have been united with Jesus in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
~Romans 6:5 (NRSV).
Paul’s following what appears to be simple logic here.
The fellowship we’re discussing here is one of fellowship with Jesus Christ, God the Father — through Jesus — to the useful acquisition of the Holy Spirit; fellowship with God.
But sharing in Jesus’ death so we’re resurrected into “newness of life” (Romans 6:4b) also says a lot about fellowship with others who’ve experienced the grace of the Lord, presumably through the waters of baptism.
Fellowship with God
If we align with Jesus’ death — the ‘burial’ of sin via his death on the cross — we, too, have buried the effect of our sin — past and evermore — so far as it impacts on both our eternal destination.
Heaven is ours!
We have fellowship of oneness with the Messiah; we’re now God’s own creed.
Logical Future or Genuine Future?
What are we resurrected for?
It’s understandable that we ask, “How are we united in Christ’s resurrection — is it are now or shall be in heaven?”
The present discussion argues passionately for the logical future — we share in Jesus’ resurrection, most definitely, for now!
But, we’re not negating the genuine future; yes, we’re set for heaven — to never die (John 11:25-27).
Fellowship with Other Believers
We share an especially unique identity, don’t we?
We may not agree with all the Christians we know, whilst we’re here on earth, but we must know we’re destined for the same place or state; to be together in eternity!
How wonderful to know that, under Christ, the least is most. Nobody is favoured above the next.
Another great way of understanding this fresh reality is how, under Christ, both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to one another. There is now no class divide so far as religion is concerned. The spirituality of Jesus permeates all.
This helps us truly see ourselves as part of a holy brotherhood and sisterhood. We have more in common than we don’t. Our old lives were dissimilar in many different ways — the new life has brought us together under this one identity.
Not one human being on the face of this earth is separated from this accord.
Makes us think, doesn’t it? We’re all brothers and sisters in God.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans – Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1998), pp. 310-15.