One of the great blessings of being a child of God is that it brings us into a unique relationship with other likeminded believers. We are family. The Lord is the tie that binds us together, and love is our common characteristic. We stand together in good times and bad. We rejoice and mourn together. Joys and sorrows are shared, as are needs and resources. It is a rich and important bond that differentiates us from a disconnected world.
The love of God makes this fellowship possible. The vertical produces the horizontal. Christians look at people differently. We know that beneath the scars and disfigurement of sin, there is an image of the Creator. That is especially true of the way that we see each other. The years may have taken their toll but that image is still there. Compassion and encouragement will help bring it to the surface. It is our mutual task to restore His likeness. Our Lord is at work in that, too (Romans 8:28-30). It is a collective effort.
Faith is the foundation of our rebirth into the family of God (John 1:11-13). Jesus came to His people and found rejection. A few accepted Him, and He gave a special right to those who believed in Him. They could become children of God. The words and deeds of the unique Son are revealed through John’s gospel to provide adequate information to enter into that relationship (John 20:30-31). A common faith brings us to the same heavenly Father. Christians are spiritual brothers and sisters.
Scripture teaches us how to relate in that new family (Ephesians 4:25-32). There is a newfound respect for the other children. It is reflected in our speech where truth is the bedrock upon which we stand and seek to communicate. Anger is bridled. It is no longer a culture of exploitation but rather one of sacrificial assistance. Words are used to build up rather than tear down. The burden of carrying grudges is lifted by forgiveness. After all, the Lord has forgiven us.
Jesus is our Lord, Savior and role model. He demonstrated the kind of life that God desires for His children (Ephesians 5:1-2). He gives us a clear picture of the Father’s love for us and tells us to imitate it. It is a dramatic departure from the world’s example and will distinguish us from the culture around us. The Son of God sacrificed and served. Society teaches just the opposite. This is a radically different family. It is founded on the love of God, and its goal is to reflect that love. Nothing speaks as loudly as example. The message of our lifestyle will echo longer and louder than our words ever could. People watch us to learn what this church is all about. Our relationship with each other is the most emphatic communication we have. It must be correct and clear.