There are 58 times in the New Testament where the Lord gives specific command and instruction for how we act and behave towards one another. Through this you can see that Jesus cares about how we relate. It matters to Him and He makes it a priority. One reason why is because it is a vital part of our testimony as believers. Jesus said to His disciples in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” How we treat one another in the church impacts how those around us see Jesus. As John points out in 1 John, it is also an indicator of His work in our hearts. These passages are for us to not only see in our Scriptures but to be active in, in our lives. One specific passage involving this action and behavior has to do with what Paul calls “brotherly love.”
Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Being members of the body of Christ means that we have responsibilities towards one another. In salvation, Christ has brought us into right relationship with God but also with one another. In the Christian life we cannot function effectively apart from one another or opposed to one another. In Rom. 12:10 Paul shows us that not only are we of the same body in Christ, but we are of the same family. In Eph. 1:15 Paul says that in love we have been adopted through Christ to be sons and daughters of God. The “brotherly love” Paul refers to is an ongoing, continuous activity amongst believers. Heb. 13:1 says, “Let love of the brethren continue.” This is just another way to say, “Be devoted to one another…”. There’s a commitment we have towards one another in Christ.
Peter defines what this commitment of brotherly love looks like in 1 Peter 3:8-9, “To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving blessing instead; for you were called for this very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” In God’s mind, these are the qualities of brotherly love. Sadly, this is not usually what we associate with the word “brother” but God is all about transformation and not leaving things as they are in Christ. Did you catch what Peter said at the end? This is the kind of relating we are called to and what will bring about blessing. There is no other way. You can’t expect to be a part of the family of God and refuse to show brotherly love. You also can’t expect blessing without it. Let’s resolve (by God’s grace and strength) to display this devotion of brotherly love to the brothers and sisters the Lord has given us in Christ and see the wondrous blessings flow out of that love.
Learning To Love Like A Brother, Pastor Rudy