This is a continuation of the previous one in our series about the church. We have been studying Rom.12:10. The term “brotherly love” is a sweet concept. Love has many meanings in Greek. Agape, Phileo, Eros etc. But here it means ‘brotherly love’ –it is a love that exist between brothers and sisters in a family unit.
When applied to a functioning church, it refers to the love Christians should have for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are the family of God. We are of the same blood, bought of the same blood - the blood of Jesus. We are blood brothers in the true sense of the word. We may have our hiccups and disagreements, but one thing we cannot deny is that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We just have to learn how to live with one another, whether we like it or not. Just like a human family. We are commanded to love one another. Someone has said, “You don’t have to like them, but you have to love them.” Now, let us be realistic! There are people in the body of Christ who we may find very hard to like for various reasons. Sounds familiar? But we have to learn how to live with them in the body, the church. Paul recognised the importance of the family of God when he prayed for the Ephesian church family: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (NKJV Eph.3:14-15
The term “brothers” (adelphos) denotes a brother or a close relative; male children of the same parents, male descendants of the same parent; male children of the same mother. In the New Testament when it comes to a spiritual relationship it refers to a Christian community or a Christian family. I looked up in the Vine’s reference. It has many verses in Scripture to prove this point in its meaning. It is mentioned many times in the NT beginning from Acts. The term was used by Paul, Luke, James and John.
The word “brothers” means “from the same womb” This is really a family term. When it refers to Christians it means we are ‘fellow believers”, members of God’s family” ‘brothers and sisters in Christ” It means we have been ‘born again’ into God’s forever family. This means we are all related to each other through a common heritage. Eph. 1:5 says “in love He predestine us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ.”
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Paul was giving an emphasis on brotherly love and family relationships in the church. To ‘be devoted’ it refers to the mutual love of parents and children, and husbands and wives. Don’t you know that your Christian wife is your sister in Christ? Your Christian husband is your brother too. Truly, the grace of God is so wonderful. We have this amazing relationship because of His grace. You don’t deserve it, but it has been given to you freely. So be gracious to others, especially to your loved ones. All by grace alone.