The Christian's Duty To The Brethren
Being baptized into Christ gives us the privilege of being remember that God holds us accountable for how we use the children of God (Gal. 3:26-27). This relationship also them or do not use them. "Moreover it is required in means that I have a relation to all others who are the children of God. Paul suggests some of the responsibilities that we have to our brethren in Romans 12:3-16.
Paul first advises us, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (12:3).
Pride has been the fall of many a man (Prov. 16:18). There is no room for pride in the kingdom of servants (Mt. 20:2-28). "Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (I Pet. 5:5b).
We are all children in the same family. But the apostle uses another figure to describe us. We are all members of the same body.
"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness"(12:4-8).
How wonderful it is for our bodies to be able to function as they do! Each member of the body has its duty to fulfill, and when each is working properly the physical body is indeed a t But the same should be true of the spiritual body. It is composed of different members with different talents or abilities. Maybe I can't lead singing, but I can act in some other role. Maybe you can't publicly teach, but do have a gift of showing mercy. Should we be, jealous of each other's talents? Certainly not! Instead, let each use his own talents to the best of his ability and then watch as the body grows and functions.
Having been entrusted with certain talents or gifts we must stewards that one be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2). Let us not forget the lessons from the parable of the talents (Mt. 25:14-30).
"Let love be without hypocrisy" is Paul's next admonition (12:9a). How disappointing is a pretended love. True love will be "from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith" (1 Tim. 1:5). Jesus is the example of true love. "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 Jn. 3:18).
A Christian is to be both a lover and a hater. We must, "Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good" (12:9b). David was an evil hater, and he learned what to hate from a meditation on the word of God (Psa. 119:104). Jesus is an evil-hater (Rev. 2:6,15). While hating evil, we must "super glue" ourselves to what is good. Of course, this action will involve us in determining what is good and what is evil. For this reason Paul wrote, "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thess. 5:21-22).
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another" (12:10). Brotherly love is the Christian's badge of discipleship (Jn. 13:35). Love manifests itself in kindness. It will also manifest itself in "giving preference to one another." We should "esteem others better than" ourselves, and look out not just for our interests, "but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4).
In our activities we-should not be "lagging in diligence," but "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Rom. 12:11). God will not accept half-hearted, ho-hum, service. He demands, like Bobby Knight, 110%. We can be sluggish, slothful, and backward. Or, we can be full of haste, earnestness, and zeal. How do you serve the Lord? "It is good to be zealous in a good thing always" (Gal. 4:18a).
Happy In Hope
Paul says we should be "rejoicing in hope" (12:12a). He stated the reason why we can rejoice in hope in chapter five and verse two. We have hope because of God's gracious plan to redeem us from our sins. We have met the conditions to receive this blessing as well as all the spiritual blessings in Jesus. And that "hope does not disappoint" (Rom. 5: 1).
Resister Of Tribulation
"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). Knowing this fact, we must be "patient in tribulation" (12:12b). We will be tried. The early Christians "endured a great struggle with sufferings," "were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations," and "accepted the plundering of" their goods (Heb. 10:32-34). And yet these ones were told, "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise" (Heb. 10:35-36).
Intent On Prayer
Another responsibility the Christian has is to be "continuing steadfastly in prayer" (12:12c). Colossians 4:2 also exhorts, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving." Certainly we should pray for "all the saints" (Eph. 6:18). Such a continuous intercession surely shows our interest in our family members.
Sharing With The Needy
"Distributing to the needs of the saints" is also a duty we have toward other Christians (12:13a). One is impressed with the benevolent spirit of the early church in caring for its needy (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35). The word "distributing" contains the idea of fellowship or sharing. If a brother has some particular need, then I also have that need -- we share it together.
Trained In Hospitality
The child of God must be "given to hospitality" (12:13b). Such does not mean that we just have our friends into our homes, but it literally means "love of strangers." I must practice this hospitality "without grumbling" (1 Pet. 4:9). One who opens his home to his fellow-brethren will often find himself blessed (cf. Heb. 13:2).
There will be times when a Christian is abused in some fashion, and it may be from one who is supposed to be a child of God. In that case, we are to "bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (12:14). We are to pray for, love, and do good to those who are our enemies (Lk. 6:27-3 1). The apostle Paul is an example of such character as he wrote, "being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it; being defamed, we entreat" (1 Cor. 4:12-13).
Aware of Another's Feelings
Romans 12:15 reads, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." There is no room in God's family for jealously over the success of others. And, there is no room in God's family for a spirit of coldness or being unconcerned over the sorrow of others. Since we are one body, "if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Cor. 12:26).
One can almost say that Jesus' dying request was for the oneness of His followers (Jn. 17:20-21). Therefore, we should "be of the same mind toward one another" (12:16a). While this unity certainly would include doctrinal unity, it also involves being "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). It includes "having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind" (Phil. 2:2).
Finally, Paul writes, "Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion" (12:16b). When it comes to God's family, we are all one. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). Conceit is ruled out (Prov. 3:7).
As we look over this list of duties, let us strive to put each of these traits in our fives as well as helping to develop them in the lives of others. Let these be "all in the family."
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 11, pp. 330-331