I wish to encourage you to gladly answer one to another. One of the refreshing aspects of being a Christian is that we get to live an outward looking life. Instead of being self-focused, we are other focused, which helps in setting us free from the traps of self-righteousness, legalism, and hidden sin.
The apostle Paul explains in Romans 12:5, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another”. Through faith in Christ and baptism by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) we are amalgamated in God’s family, the body of Christ, where many become one. Here, we experience our common identity in Christ, a common love, unity, friendship, forgiveness, acceptance, patience, grace, discipleship, growth, service, sanctification, worship, mercy, and mutual accountability, to name a few.
1 Corinthians 12:14-25 speaks of the uniqueness of our interdependent relationships in the body of Christ; “For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body, 25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another”. In Christ’s body we answer to the Lord, to our spouses and families, and to Church leadership as the under-Shepherds of Jesus Christ. We answer to one another within the family of God, and we even answer to the world as they are entitled to see in our lives the Christ we confess to have as Lord. Indeed, no Christian has the luxury of thinking or claiming that they answer to only one, even if that one is God. God has not designed our Christian DNA that way, and He certainly has not designed the body of Christ (the church) that way. No Christian is an isolated island that stands alone.
Just as there is structure in our earthly families, so there is structure in God’s family. Beginning with Christ, who “is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18), then church leaders who keep “watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17). The fabric of Holy Spirit empowered interdependency provides for nurturing, protection, security, provision of needs, activities, education, and accountability. Christ’s security is fleshed out as we watch out for each other and “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…” in this way we carry and “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:1-2).
Mutual open-hearted interaction has the appearance of Christ’s character. As the apostle Paul describes; “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour” (Romans 12:10). “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14:19), “as a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts also” (2 Corinthians 6:13 NIV), “if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). In this God designed, Spirit energised, Christ focused family, we live for the benefit of each other, the glory of Christ our Lord, and the salvation of those who are lost in their sin.
Today, be encouraged to gladly answer one to another, praising God for the privilege, and help another believer in thanking God for His grace at work in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz