BRETHREN IN CHRIST
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren”
The word translated brethren speaks of having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or a countryman. It also speaks of having a common origin, or being part of the same family and of the same father.
Thus Jesus was of our nature, yet sinless and made perfect. We can maybe recall how when once surrounded by a great throng of people, Jesus was told:
“Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”
But rather than respond to the ties of human family relationship, Jesus taught a profound lessons saying in response:
“Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
Thus for those called to be brethren in Christ, called to part of the Divine family and profess that God is their Father, these words stimulate an inevitable self-examination. The question must be asked:
- Are we doing the will of God?
- Are we living our lives as those who deeply desire to love and honour their Father who is in Heaven?
Jesus encouraged His Disciples to pursue Godliness and follow His example. Firstly He calls them friends, “I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” They were called and specially chosen, yet the principle holds good for us who have been called at the end of the age. However, it is not enough to simple know those things that have been made known to us. Thus Jesus also said:
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Just as Jesus was perfect in obedience to His Fathers will, we also must put the Word into practice day by day, demonstrating our faith and love by our works. Therefore the questions arise, are we obeying the commandments of Christ? Are we truly living the Truth?
Because Jesus was obedient even unto death, He has become the firstfruits of those who sleep in the dust of the earth. Through faith in Him we are called and begotten of the Father. Thus Peter writes:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3)
This calling, this great hope set before us brings with it immense privilege, but also immense responsibility. With this in mind we recall that Paul exhorts in his letter to the Ephesians:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:1-6)
Herein we see our unity defined. We are one, a united body, but only if we walk in love and endeavour to keep the unity of the faith. We are one body, but only in and through the Lord. It matters not what our background is, it matters not what we are in this life, it matters not what our race, all that matters is that we are one in the Lord, Brethren in Christ!
With these matters in mind Peter exhorts, “therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure”. No room for half hearted service, no room for one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom, rather as Paul writes:
“Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor 6:17)
If we truly love the Lord our God, if we truly desire to follow the Lamb of God wheresoever He goes and if the Kingdom really matters to us, then we will live our lives striving to be children of our Father in Heaven:
“Finally, be you all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren” (1 Peter 3:8)