I believe in the communion of the saints …What are the implications of this belief? It means that I am ready to accept the practical consequences of being joined to all who worship God in truth.
An example from the Old Testament illuminates the fixed nature of our relationship with others who believe. The Psalmist says in Psalm 119.63, I am a companion of all who fear you. He is acknowledging, in effect, that he is joined to all others who worship his God. The word – “companion” – bears a closer look. The Scriptures use this word to describe a closeness, an intimacy that is fixed and certain. When the curtains in the tabernacle in Ex.26.3 are described as being coupled to one another, it could be translated literally that they are “companioned to one another.” When the High Priest’s breastplate and ephod in Ex.28.7 is described, this same term describes how the shoulder straps are joined at its two edges. Literally, they are “companioned at its two edges.” The idea is that this fastening, this joining, of us to others of our faith, is very real and cannot be denied.
Paul writes in 1Thess.4:9 that concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another… This statement implies that our relationship with others of our faith is something we are given to understand and accept by the power of the Holy Spirit. But Paul’s statement also suggests that sometimes those consequences are difficult to accept, for example, when there is strife or disagreement.
Paul says something similar to this in 1 Corinthians 1.10: Now I plead with you, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, … that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. He doesn’t appeal to their appreciation of him. Not even an Apostle could prevent divisions in the church, but he appeals to them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we do not handle conflict and disagreement the best way, we want to pull away from others, from communion to disunion, to disconnect and to disassociate ourselves. But our new nature, born of God’s Spirit, should guide us: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him also loves him who is begotten of Him (1John5.1). Our desire for Christ, our love for him, is the foundation of our communion and empowers us not only to rejoice in our faith, but also recognize that we have been joined to others on the breastplate of our Great High Priest.