Over the last few weeks, I have tried to spend some time reminding all of us that we will not get to heaven alone. We need one another in the church. We need to love one another and get along with one another, for it is when Satan divides us that he wins. The world needs to see there is a place of peace; a place where we may have disagreements and disputes, but, at the same time, we all are committed to Christ first, and to his church. We love one another to work things out. We should be there for one another, as Jesus is for us. Let us look at these reminders. . . .
AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
Am I my brother’s keeper? Do I have a responsibility to watch for his soul? Should I be concerned with the development of spiritual relationships within the body of Christ? LET THE BIBLE SPEAK!
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too, be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. . . So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:1-2, 10).
“I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14).
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13)
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
These are but a few of the passages of Scripture that suggest a clear answer to the questions previously presented. As members of Christ’s body we do have responsibility to and for one another. May God give us the courage to explore His will in this design for the spiritual family.
Brad Blair, Via Brainerd Road church of Christ, 3 7 1985
Both peace and harmony suggest interaction. When two people can interact with one another, when there is a mutual giving and taking, when they find pleasure in the company of one another, and when they are supportive of one another there is peace and harmony. There is also friendship which must, of course, enter any concept of peace. Where there is friendship there is also beneficent love and brotherly love. So, you see, the concept of peace is vitally tied to love.
Men have, down through the centuries, thought of peace in negative terms, that is, in terms of total withdrawal. For that reason, many have withdrawn from society to live the life of a hermit, or the lives of monks sealed away from the world. However, they were often very disturbed to learn that they had not attained peace, but only solitariness. There’s a vast difference between being at peace and being alone! One can be very much alone and know nothing of peace, because peace is a positive, harmonious, interaction.
Before this kind of relationship can exist between men there must first be a harmonious relationship between ourselves and God. We must be at peace with him. Jesus made this peace possible since God was in Christ, “reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) The price that was paid to make our peace with God was possible through the blood of our savior upon the cross. Because Jesus died and it is possible for the fear of God, the terror of God, the estrangement from God, and the great sense of distance from God to be taken away so that we can live with him in contentment and harmony; we can be at peace. This means, furthermore, that we interact with God as children do with their fathers. We can receive his instruction through the medium of holy scripture, we can talk with him through the medium of precious prayer. We can know, as did Abraham of old, friendship with God.
If we will begin to think of peace in the sense of living in harmony with God and with others, we will find ourselves in the positive interaction that will make this possible. But, someone asked, what if we were asked to compromise the truth to live at peace with our fellow man? Compromising truth is a form of appeasement! Appeasement never brings peace! No true friend of God, or men, will ever ask another man to compromise truth. He may ask him to educate his conscience, but never to compromise truth. Why? Because compromising the truth destroys our peace with God. This is the primary peace for which we all seek. If that peace is destroyed no other counts. No true friend will ask us to compromise truth, he will help us to more fully appreciate and appropriate God’s truth to our lives. Let us seek peace!
Gene West, August 30th 1987, via Saks Church of Christ, Anniston AL