In the ‘previous blessing’, I talked about the proper functioning of the body of Christ, the church. Today let us go to a higher level. The church is not only a body, but also a family. Within the context of the ‘body’ (Rom 12), there is a verse that indicates that we are not just a body, but also a family. Verse 10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. We are a household of faith.” It is easy for us to identify with others when we talk about families. All of us have family stories, joys, problems etc. Paul gave another analogy here to illustrate the functioning church. The church is like a human family unit. There is a very important recipe in order for a family to function properly and that is according to Rom.12:10, “…brotherly love.”
In brief, let me compare these ideas: The “body’ notion we had just discussed, gave us a picture that Christians are “member’s one of another”. This shows that every Christian, no matter what his or her status in life is, is a part of the body. And here we are told “we are members one of another”. That is the ‘body’ concept.
The ‘family’ concept shows us even a greater insight and greater appreciation of what a functioning church should be. Why? Because the ‘human body’ concept, though it is a beautiful analogy of a church, it has its own limitation. It can only go so far in describing it- that ‘we are members of one another.’ It mainly illustrates to us how the church functions.
The idea of a ‘family’ (church family) gives additional dimension of warmth, tenderness, concern, and allegiance and loyalty to one another. In the human family, in order for it to function properly, the human emotion and devotion are involved. Love is important in a family, right? In the family analogy, Paul was illustrating to us a psychological involvement-- meaning the emotional, intellectual aspects of relational Christianity. Christianity is all about relationships. That is very clear in the family concept. In other words a ‘body’ needs to express some emotions. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. As I close, let me ask you: are you a part of God’s family? If not, you can be, by faith in Christ Jesus. The Bible says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become children of God” (NIV). Notice the two words in this verse “receive” and “believe.” If you really believe, you must receive. Just like any gift we received, the gift of grace can only be yours only if you will reach out and take it. Even that act of reaching out is a gift of God’s grace. Everything was done on the cross.