In the New Testament the phrase ‘brotherly kindness’ or ‘brotherly affection’ does not refer to the love of brothers and sisters in a natural family, but rather the love which occurs between fellow Christians in the church. A love for the saints, or people, of God.
Conrad Mbewe continues his series in 2 Peter 1 Christian, Grow Up! The focus is on a string of imperatives for spiritual growth that Peter delivers to all Christians. Of course the first step is to have faith. But on this foundation we must build with quality materials in order to mature as Christians. Peter commands us to add virtue to faith. Then to add knowledge to our virtue and temper our knowledge with self control. Peter calls us to add steadfastness and resolve as we journey with Christ. Next we were told to add godliness to all these qualities. Now we look at his command to add love for the saints (or brotherly affection) to all these qualities.
At each stage we are growing and developing – all the better to serve our heavenly Father and persevere in our walk with Christ.
Spiritual Brothers & Sisters
At the point of conversion, the Holy Spirit baptises us all into the body of Christ. One of the immediate results of our conversion is that we become interested in the people we sit alongside in the pews. We feel a sense of belonging; spiritually we become brothers and sisters. God the Holy Spirit makes us one. This is one of the reasons why, as soon as we are converted, we get baptised and join a local church.
Growing in Love for the Saints
Love for the saints grows as a result of a number of realities. We have a common father, God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We also have a common elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Father who is in heaven is one that cares not just about me, but also about my spiritual brothers and sisters. Our elder brother, who is our Saviour, has rescued us from sin and we rejoice in him together.
We have a common belief, a common confession of faith. This connects us with Christians not just in our local church but also across the world.
We have a common belief, a common confession of faith. This connects us with Christians not just in our local church but also across the world. We have a common mission – a common purpose – which we are achieving together. Because of all this, we have this common life that drives us as fellow saints. This family sense drives us to work together, to live together, to endure trials together and share joys together.
Listen to Conrad Mbewe as he expounds on the delightful reality of belonging to the family of Christ in this first of two sermons addressing the topic of ‘love for the saints’.