Posted by: SandreS | September 5, 2009

Family-of-God Affections

Paul saw things from their divine perspective. He saw the saints as family. He had a special and tender relationship with them. Notice Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, dealing graciously among yourselves, according as God also, in Christ, deals graciously with you (Ephesians 4:32, CLT).

Paul had great love for the saints at Ephesus and they had great love for him in return.

And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship (Acts 20:37-38).

Family Terms

Family terms are Paul’s greatest form of speaking of our relationship to each other. Often this subject does not get the attention that it deserves, probably because of its very familiarity. After all, he uses brother and brethren (brothers) over 130 times in his letters.

To Paul, “brother” was not some formal description or religious title; it was an attitude of relationship, of personal commitment to family ties.

And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you sin so against the brothers, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat makes my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stands, lest I make my brother to offend (I Corinthians 8:11-13).

Love Is the Key

Love is the key factor of family life. Without it a “family” does not really exist. So it is with Christ’s Body.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you (I Thessalonians 3:12).

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (Philippians 1:9).

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (Romans 12:9-10).

Put on, then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, pitiful compassions, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another and dealing graciously among yourselves, if anyone should be having a complaint against any. According as the Lord also deals graciously with you, thus also you. Now over all these put on love, which is the tie of maturity (Colossians 3:12-14, CLT).

Be therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Love Is Positive Action

Love is manifested not in mere feeling but in concrete active service. Love gives itself irrespective of the recipient’s reactions.

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved (II Corinthians 12:15).

Family life is to be based upon divine love – an unconditional, unfailing, no-matter-what kind of love. It has to do with the fundamental attitudes of patience, humility, tolerance, kindness and generosity. These attributes lead us to a depth of relationship with each other which is unmatched by simple earthly relationships.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1995, 2009 Bible Student’s Notebook

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