Healthy Leaders


God’s Eternal Purpose Is Fellowship

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18)

In the beginning, after God had created man, He looked upon him and saw that man needed a “helper.” But not just any helper would do. This had to be a “helper suitable for him.” God created all the animals and brought them to Adam, but there was not found a suitable companion for him. So then God created a woman to be his companion. And He did not create her out of the ground as the animals had been, but He took a part of Adam and made her out of him.

Because woman now partook of man she became a suitable companion for him. She was of his nature: “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Nothing less than this could have satisfied man. Adam’s companion had to be like him, of his nature, of his image, or else the companion could never have satisfied him. In order for there to be a lasting and fulfilling relationship between man and his companion, she had to be made out of him.

That this fellowship between a husband and his wife is a divinely-intended type of the relationship between Jesus and His bride is expressed in Paul’s letter to the saints at Ephesus:

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church ‒ for we are members of His body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery ‒ but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:29-32)

In the Garden of Eden, God could undoubtedly have created His man to have been an “island” unto himself. He could have created him to have not even needed a companion. To do this would have been possible for God, but it was not His purpose. Similarly, the Son of God does not need a man to fellowship with nor to make Himself complete; but He chose to make His man in His image, by His own breath, not only to make communion possible between His man and Himself, but so that this communion would truly be pleasing to God as well as to man.

We repeat, the reason God made man in His image was so that He could fellowship and commune with him, in such a way that was actually pleasing and enjoyable to Himself.

This is beautifully reflected in the husband-wife relationship. The reason a man marries a wife is not just for her benefit – so that she will have a companion, provider and protector – but he also marries her for his own benefit. And his own benefit consists in more than just having someone to share daily responsibilities with. A large part of the reason for him marrying is his own need for companionship.

From the union of husband and wife, something is born that goes beyond the mutual utility of the arrangement. There is something far deeper involved than the mere formality of two individuals living together for the superficial helping of each other. There is a spiritual union and bond that comes to pass between the two: “and the two will become one flesh.” There comes about an intangible relationship between them which satisfies not just their physical needs but also their emotional and spiritual needs for companionship.

By “companionship” we mean more than just physical proximity and communication. We mean the deepest possible realization of an inner fellowship – a spiritual union and bond – an experience of true love.

Whether or not this fellowship is ever realized in many marriages does not change the fact that this was God’s principal intention in establishing the marriage relationship. Indeed, this was His very purpose in creating woman in the beginning: so that Adam could become “one flesh” with her.

This deep fellowship is what Paul refers to in his letter to the Ephesians, when he speaks of the husband-wife relationship; and it is this context in which he writes, “I am talking about Christ and the church,” thereby showing that the relationship of a man to his wife is an intended type or picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. This is also stated in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church:

… For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit. (1 Cor. 6:16-17)

So we see that when God created man He had a deeper purpose in mind than merely to create a world and then someone to rule over it on His behalf. If this were all He wanted, He could have simply created a being who was not in His image but who was superior enough to the rest of the created order to exercise dominion over it all in His place. But this was not God’s highest purpose. He had a greater purpose than dominion and it is revealed in the fact that He created man in His own image.

Just as Eve had to be made in the image of Adam – actually out of Adam – in order for a true fellowship of love to be possible between her and Adam, so man had to be created in the image of God – by the breath of God – in order for an intimate relationship of love to be possible between God and His man. God’s purpose in the creation of man was fellowship: fellowship with Himself. This was in His heart from the very beginning.

This purpose has never changed. Although Adam sinned and plunged himself and his descendants into a state of alienation from their Creator, God graciously provided for the redemption of His man – to open for His man a way back to Himself. Again His purpose was not mere utility. Jesus did not die upon the cross simply to legally remit man’s sins, and deliver him from his well-deserved punishments, both temporal and eternal. Neither did He die just to demonstrate His own infinitely glorious attributes of grace, love and mercy. Of course the death of Christ did accomplish all this; indeed, if it had only accomplished these things it would have been a work of infinite glory. But, amazingly, a central purpose of God in the shedding of the blood of His Son was to reconcile man to Himself: to restore the lost fellowship. “Christ … also suffered once for sins … to bring you to God.”

So we see that we have been redeemed unto fellowship with God. The purpose of our redemption was not simply to deliver us from eternal hell, but God desires fellowship and communion with His man. This is the essence of salvation and it is stated in many ways in the New Testament, where it is said that:

            We have been reconciled to God.

            We now have peace with God.

            We are accepted in the beloved.

            We are received by God.

            We are to abide in Him, and He in us.

            We are partakers of the divine nature.

            We are now alive to God.

            We are born of God.

            We are children of God.

            We are heirs of God.

            We are the bride of Christ.

            We now have access unto the Father.

            We are brought near to God.

            Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren.

            Jesus now calls us His friends.

All of these are profound statements, and they are all concrete statements, reflecting concrete truths.

We must not reduce our salvation to a mere theory of legal standing! These Scriptures mean more than that. It is unbelief to devalue the Christian life to mere ideas about theoretical position. Certainly we do now have a glorious legal standing with God. But the above statements from the New Testament are not only legal truths – they are intended to be experiential ones as well. In fact, that is their primary meaning. Jesus now calls us His friends! This is not religious speculation nor some theological construct to be discussed and debated – this is an experience to be lived!

About To Enjoy Him Forever

Jesus died on the cross to restore man to fellowship with His God. This fellowship means more than just a legal position in Christ. It is a living, daily experience, and out of this experience comes the whole of the Christian life.

To know Jesus is our ultimate purpose. To fellowship with Him is our highest calling. And when we have Him, we have everything. Let us come to know personal fellowship with Him first, and the rest will follow. To Enjoy Him Forever dives deep into what this means.

Eternal life, healing, deliverance, peace, joy, holiness, righteousness, faith, the fruits and gifts of the spirit, spiritual strength and power – all are in HIM. In Him we are complete, and can do all things – and without him we are empty, and can do nothing. Our only end – our only purpose – is the Lord Jesus Christ. Let Him be your pursuit.

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