Love the Body with Brotherly Affection

>> Sunday, June 19, 2011

Romans 12 provides us with one of scripture’s clearest pictures of practical Christ-like living. We see scripture’s exhortation to live a life marked with action. I believe a healthy understanding and practice of these things help us “put to death” the old self and actively “put on” the new self, helps us in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, helps our transformation by the “renewing of our minds”, helps us to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”.

Here is what scripture teaches us in Romans 12:9-13:
  • Allow love to be genuine
  • Utterly detest evil and hold on to what is good
  • Love the body with brotherly affection
  • Excel in showing honor
  • Activate zeal and show intensity in spirit in service to God
  • Rejoice in hope, patient in tribulation, constant in prayer
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek opportunities for hospitality

In a recent sermon from our Community Pastor at Christ City Church, Johnny Grimes spoke about the significance of gospel community and how vital a healthy understanding and lifestyle of true gospel community is to our daily walk of faith.  Within these identities of gospel community is ingrained the reality that we as believers are family.

That we are family is not just a clever analogy or picture of what it looks like to live a life of faith, it is absolute reality.  You cannot read scripture in context without finding the reality that God as Trinity is family and that He created a way to have family that is honoring to Him.

In Ephesians 1 & 2 we find this clearly spelled out - the reality that I, as a redeemed believer, am adopted into God's family and am a joint-heir with Christ of the Kingdom is mind-blowing.  I can't completely wrap my mind around that.

For so long I've lived a life trying to please God because I thought that the central reality in spiritual terms was my personal salvation.  Once I began to understand more clearly who God is and use that to understand what He has done, I began to realize reality as the presence, reclamation, and future glory of God's Kingdom.  This reality makes appreciation for my salvation even greater.

So why is this important to understanding our call to "love the body with brotherly affection".  I think it is obnoxiously simple and yet we so often over analyze it.  Here it is - we should love as brothers because WE ARE BROTHERS.  This isn't a secret code to unlock so that we actually begin to operate our gospel communities, our christian walks, as though we are "spiritual" brothers - NO, we are called to live truthfully as brothers in Christ because we are.

The world doesn't need to see Christians acting like family so that they are convinced it's a good profitable lifestyle to live.  The world needs to see Christians acting like family because that is the reality of who we are.  In Christ, we are joint-heirs, brothers, sisters, and adopted sons and daughters of the Supremely Sovereign God.

More importantly, God desires and demands that we live this as reality because it is pleasing and honoring to him.  It's the way he's designed it.  For God to be most glorified, He has declared that our lives in Him should look and act as family.  We can do this authentically once we grasp the reality that we are family.

As family, we value that every one of us has purpose and value in the Kingdom.  As family, we have committed to "do life" together.  As family, we rejoice and grieve, correct and support our brothers with genuine affection.

with authentic love for my multitude of brothers of every nation and every tribe,


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