Biblical Responsibilies of Christians to One Another
Oh the joy of seeing a sinful soul get saved! Oh the blessedness of our Savior’s grace! Sinners saved by God’s grace, once were lost but now are found. Praise God! Isn’t it one of the reasons why we saints celebrate? Aren’t we also commanded to have this as our goal that we should all long to see happen?—by God’s grace of course. But let’s fast forward a bit; a soul gets saved, a new creation, God’s child, etc. Oh wait! I think I forgot one more thing. Oh yeah. That person also becomes our “brother/sister in Christ.”
Now, let's talk about our family in Christ. I have read somewhere that Christians hate Christians more than anything else in the world. Only we ourselves can confirm that and I think we all know the answer. The worldly principle of “live and let live,’ is also slowly being embraced by the church. In most cases, we may not hate our brethren but we sure don’t care about them. We easily slip into a state of apathy and indifference. Besides, we’re all going to heaven, right? And oh! Before anything else let me remind each one including myself that our brethren are not the only ones we see in the local church where we are members. I am referring about the body of Christ. Also, let us be clear that the true body of Christ are those who repented and believes in Jesus Christ as their only Savior. And that it is purely by God’s grace. I will put a link below for a more complete explanation.
Going back, we’re going to have a little love check, and that towards our brethren. I basically decided to write about this very important topic because of the burden, conviction and wisdom [through the Holy Spirit] (Bible) that our good Lord has given me. And as always, I am not excluded from this.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24; “"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
Ephesians 4:22-24; “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We are new creations in Christ but we are also a work in progress. (Phi 1:6, 1 Thes 4:7) Christ’s work of our sanctification is something we should earnestly pray for, be submissive to, and of course take part in. We are never called to be passive but to take part. We obey while God make things grow (Both of which are all by His grace) So having this in mind, we ought to be sensitive with God's work in our brethren and not just in ourselves. Just imagine the shame, danger and pain it will cause if we are to push down what Christ is pulling up. Bottom line is that we should edify one another.
What does it mean to edify one another? It simply means we are to help each other grow in Christ and mature in the faith. We are to be pulling each other up and not pushing down. There are no rankings or top ten in the body of Christ, nor there an island in it.
So how do we edify? We edify by speaking the truth in love, by genuinely caring for one another, not be stumbling blocks and by personally growing in Christ. As we take on our personal responsibility to study, obey and grow, all by the grace of God; we will automatically be setting an edifying testimony to our brethren.
Aside from a godly life, another way to edify is with loving words and genuine care. While it is much easier to close our eyes and act numb to the needs of our brethren rather than take the time to care and get involved; it is definitely more rewarding to do the latter and costs more to do the former. That’s why we have to be very discerning with our words and always keep our hearts warm and tender towards one another. Our goal is to grow and watch others grow with us. We are to avoid becoming teachers of compromise and ungodliness. Edify one another to be more like Christ!
Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Hebrews 3:13 - But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:11; therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Christians should have a Christ mentality and not a crab mentality. We are to constantly remind ourselves that we are all a working progress. And that the race we are running is a race of faith and not a competition to know who has a greater one. With that said, we should be burdened if our brethren slips into a sinful habit or is struggling with a stronghold; instead of looking down on him as if we are any better because we are not. We are all sinners saved by God’s grace! We all have our rough edges but God promises our sanctification. As much as we should edify one another, we should also be committed to encouraging one another to live holy and godly lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)Therefore, the right kind of attitude we should practice is of course, a Christ-like attitude, as always.
If God has forgiven us despite of all that we are (and there’s nothing pretty or loveable about it), then why do we hold our brothers and sisters to such a different standard that if they do something that does not please “us’ they are immediately banished from our own concept of God’s family. We call them the prodigal son, the backslider, the unfaithful one, and even question their faith in Christ. Has it ever occurred to us that we are all those things at one point? A prodigal son, a backslider, the unfaithful one, with a life that will make others question our faith in Christ. Admit it, we all have those moments. So why be so merciless towards one another? God Himself promises that as His child He will forgive when we repent, and restore us to keep us going in the faith. This promise is given to every believer and not just ourselves.
So what are we to do then? As I’ve said, we are to encourage one another. We don’t have the power to change the heart nor should we harshly enforce to our brethren the right thing that they should be doing, but we definitely should encourage them to walk in a manner worthy of our King. Instead of dragging them to repent, we should encourage them to do so. Reach out to them and be compassionate. No one likes a “holier than thou” attitude but we should be encouraging one another to be holy as Christ is holy. And remember them in your prayers for God alone can change the heart. God alone convicts us of sin. God alone heals, forgives, restores and sanctifies.
John 13:34-35; " A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We can be so compassionate with the lost; patient and forgiving to everyone except our own family in Christ. It’s nothing but a direct violation (disobedience) of God’s command.
We argue that he/she is just so unlovable, unlikable, undesirable, un-everything! But hey! Aren’t we all? As I’ve said earlier, we are all sinners saved by God’s grace—a working progress. That is why God commanded us to love one another as HE HAS LOVED US. He did not say that we should love in our own terms or with our own standards or any of those “me” stuff. The more we try to do that, the more we will see our inability to love apart from Christ. Remember the truth that we can’t do anything without Him? (John 15:5) Well, yeah, that, too, covers our ability to love.
That’s why we are called to follow Christ’s example, to put off the old self, to surrender and obey. (The way Jesus lived His life here on earth is also THE example we should diligently follow!—through divine enablement) For we are hopeless if left to ourselves! Just imagine if Christ just left us to suffer for our sins! Praise God for He is a merciful, gracious and just God! Therefore we have no excuse not to love our brethren, not with our own concept of love nor by our ability to love, but by our willingness to obey and trust God to love through us. To love as HE HAS LOVED US. For He has FIRST loved us.
Did a brother hurt you? Forgive. Did a sister disappointed you? Forgive. Did a brother irritate you? Understand. Does a brethren seem so difficult to love? LOVE him still, as CHRIST HAS LOVED YOU. Pray for him and care for him. EDIFY, ENCOURAGE and LOVE one another.
Soli Deo Gloria!