Tag Archives: love

Can You Be a Christian and Not Love Christians?

10 Apr

Can You Be a Christian and Not Love Christians? To some the answer might be blazingly obvious. ‘No! A mark of a true believer is love for the brother, case closed.’ I mean, the epistles of the New Testament seem to continuously elevate the necessary importance of loving your brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t they?

love

Can You Be a Christian and Not Love Christians? This question is more pertinent and worth a moment of your consideration than you might first assume.

In the pastoral ministry, I witness people struggle to love their brothers and sisters in Christ. Honestly, I struggle at times with loving my brothers and sisters in the Lord, as I am sure they struggle to love me. I am thankful that they struggle to love and don’t simply resign themselves to bitter distain. Nevertheless, I’m not referring to the struggle of loving our fellow Christian.

This question is for those who have no problem hating, or at least scorning, fellow followers of Christ, and yet still claim to follow Christ. Some justify their visceral reactions against the people of Christ, rather than repenting, as though their professed love for Christ is supposed to exist separately from the necessary love for his bride, the church, and her members. Please, don’t misunderstand—I’m aware that the church may hurt people or an individual Christian hurts them; heinous and awful things have been done by professing Christians, or in the name of Christ. However, not everyone crying wolf actually sees a wolf. And irrespective of crimes committed, one cannot hate his brother and love Christ at the same time. (1 John 3:10)

The gospel frees us from hate. It frees the true adherent of the gospel from harboring unforgiving-bitterness when hurt. By faith in Christ, we are free to love our brothers in Christ. The beauty of the gospel is not only that we are forgiven by faith in Jesus Christ, but also we are freed to forgive by faith in Jesus Christ. Now, mystical-magical forgiveness doesn’t pour forth from the Christian as a result of being in Christ, but the good fight of faith and striving to forgive and give, as we have been forgiven, is a badge of a true Christian.

If you love Jesus, you will love other Christians. If you love other Christians, you gather together with them. And if you gather with the church, a few things are guaranteed. First, the church is filled with sinners, which guarantees you will be sinned against. Second, you will have an opportunity to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness to these sinners by faith in Christ. Third, if you are willing to receive grace, mercy, and forgiveness in some measure you will experience it in the body of Christ. Don’t be fooled to think you won’t sin against your brothers, as you do they will exercise grace toward you, by God’s grace if they are genuine. Fourth, you will see God in action in the midst of his bride bringing glory to his name. Fifth, none of this will be easy, but it will be worth it.

So, if you want to see God’s grace in action find a church where sinners are present, the gospel is preached, and they are imperfectly striving to attain the to the unity of faith. Entering a community like this will be hard, but it will bring you nearer to the Jesus you love.

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