Our call to faithfulness must extend to our fellowship

Our call is to faithfulness. That should be the watchword of all ministry. We are not called to great success or large platforms, but to faithfulness to Christ.

Unlike what we are frequently told, there is no great hierarchy on which the Lord sits at the top, your wife second, your family third, your job fourth, etc, etc. The reality is we are called to be faithful to Christ above all. Our one priority is faithfulness to Christ.

It clearly follows, if we are faithful to Christ, we will love our wife, care for our family, serve in the church, reach the lost, and all the other kind of things the Lord also calls us to do. But these are not orders of priority exactly. These are all means of honouring Christ and being faithful to him. To honour him in respect to our church service, but using that service as the excuse for neglecting our family, is not faithfulness to Christ. It is serving Christ in some areas and failing him in others. Faithfulness to Christ is the key, and he calls us to honour him in all these things.

But that is not my purpose in writing this post though my question is related. If faithfulness to Christ is the call that stands above all others, at what point do we become unfaithful to Christ by remaining in fellowship with those who are denying Christ in their teaching or behaviour? If our overarching calling is faithfulness, at what point are we so compromised in our affiliations that we have become unfaithful?

Your answer may well be ‘never’. You might argue that the statements and behaviours of others within my partnerships, denominations or fellowships have nothing to do with me. But it seems hard to argue that you have no responsibility for the company that you keep. If those with whom you have either sought out partnership, or joined yourself formally in fellowship, are evidently unfaithful to Christ, do you bear no responsibility if you maintain your formal (or informal) fellowship with them? Is there ever a point that such unfaithfulness compromises you if you continue in communion with those who are unfaithful?

I’m am quite sure the answer is ‘yes’. There does, indeed, come a point where maintaining fellowship with unfaithful people means that you are compromised by your affiliation. The point at which that happens is much less clear. But it cannot be the case that the company you actively choose to keep, at some point, doesn’t lead to your compromise in keeping fellowship.

When we’re stood before the Lord and he pronounces judgement on many who said ‘Lord, Lord’, who will be more embarrassed? Those who withdrew from them because they didn’t want to themselves be unfaithful or those who continued to call them brother and who affirmed their profession by remaining in formal fellowship? If we align ourselves with those who deny the Lord, even if they still profess to believe, at some point 2 John 1:10f must come into play? If that doesn’t extend to our formal fellowship, I don’t know what does.