Jesus Came to Die to Make us Brothers and Sisters
One implication of the truth that we are “in Christ” is that we are one with everyone else who is “in Christ” by faith. The Scriptures express this in a variety of ways. We all have the “one Spirit”. We are all members of the “body of Christ”. We are all “children of God” in Christ. And we are “brothers” or “brothers and sisters”. We have spiritual siblings in Christ.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (ESV)
The Key Truths Here:
- Because of Jesus’ work on our behalf (see Ephesians 1:1-2:18) we have been made members of the “household of God”. In other words, we have been made his family.
- In becoming His family we have been “joined together” (v. 21)
- Together, as brothers and sisters, we continue to be “built together” since God dwells in us by His Spirit (v. 22)
I love that these two realities are paired up for us to see together. We are family in Christ and, as family in Christ, we are being built into that dwelling place for God’s Spirit.
I see two things at play here. (1) The reality that no matter how we feel about other Christians in our church, no matter how many “warm fuzzies” there are (or aren’t) we are truly a part of the same “household”. We truly, really, objectively are brothers and sisters. We’ve been joined and filled with the same Spirit. (2) It is as this “joined together” family that we are being built up (v.22).
How often do we think that we can be adequately Christian with almost no noticeable connection to other Christians? How often do we complain when we “don’t get anything out of the sermon or out of the worship” while we remain willfully distanced and cold toward the brothers and sisters?
The Lord has given us each other as part of his plan to fully build us up into his people. So, we must not neglect the brothers and sisters. We must strive to know and relate to and love and spend time with the believers around us.
Another implication of this (one I alluded to above) is that because of the Spirit, we are a family whether we feel like it or not. Our spiritual unity is real despite what our feelings say. Because we are family in Christ we have more in common with each other than meets the eye.
Later on in Ephesians the apostle Paul will urge them to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (4:3). Notice that. He does not say “achieve” the unity. He does not say “rescue” the unity. He does not say “generate” the unity. He says, “maintain.” In other words, the unity of the Spirit is something that we already have. Our call is simply to walk in it. Recognize it. Nurture it and fan it into flame.
Do not neglect each other. Jesus died to make us brothers and sisters.