In The Family
Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
God’s plan of redemption has always worked through families. Going all the way back to Genesis 3:15, God promised that it would be the seed of the woman who would destroy sin and evil. In Genesis 15, God promised Abram that his offspring would be more numerous than the sands of the seashore, and in connecting this to Genesis 12, they would be the means by which all the families of the earth would be blessed.
This promise reached its fullness in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Out of many tribes and nations, God made one people. Out of many people, God made one family by uniting them to his Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As this new creation has come into existence, they are called to set about on His mission in the world. To be salt and light. To be holy. To preach the Good News. To care for orphans and widows. To love the Lord their God and their neighbor. To love one another.
Even though the command to love one another is listed amidst other commands, it is not merely one command isolated from the others. Rather, the command to love one another sits at the heart of Christian fellowship and witness.
This was not just important to Peter, but to John as well: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23). Consider also 1 John 4:21: “whoever loves God must also love his brother.” And perhaps he was recalling the words of Jesus before the crucifixion when he wrote, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Brotherly love is clearly very powerful.
It is powerful, but it is far from easy. Brotherly love, a love that implies familial familiarity and personal knowledge, can be the hardest love to give and receive.
This may not be the case for all of us, but generally speaking, no one knows us better than our family. They have seen us at our best and at our worst. They remember when we were immature children, or rebellious teenagers, or naive young adults. And so, at its best, brotherly love is unearned and unconditional. It is offered and exhibited simply because one shares parentage with another.
Ultimately, brotherly love is acted out by the family of God because we are loved as his children. He is our good Father who adopted us in His Spirit. And he is our good Father who justified us in His Son. We are His sons and daughters, let us love accordingly.
Will Stockdale is a Ministry Associate in D.C. and cohost of The Will & Rob Show.