In the famous account in Luke 10, a Mosaic law lawyer asked Christ who was his neighbor. Jesus responded by telling him a parable of the “Good Samaritan“. What about another question, who is my brother? Now I will not give an exemplum, but I want to discuss what the Bible teaches.
Some feel that only those in either their own Christian congregation or denomination can be called their brother and sister. It is interesting that the Bible does have something to say about this. But first their argument and my rejoinders. Some say that one does not know one outside their fellowship nor have they heard their testimony on what they believe. So they feel that they can’t call someone else a brother or sister. First, the Bible nowhere teaches this is needed, at least I know of no a place. However, if this is an issue, than just ask the person in question, if he or she is a follower of Christ, that person would be happy to tell his or her testimony. Also, what great sin was committed if one calls another confessor of Christ a brother or sister in Christ even if one finds out later that it was not the case?
However, what does the Bible say? When one fulfills specific commands from scripture, one is a Christian, a brother or sister of Christ, and a brother or sister to any other follower of Christ (see this article). The Bible also talks about how we are to accept other followers of Christ as seen in Romans 15:7: “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.”
It also talks about it a number of other places, but the most clear places include Philippians 4:21, 1 Thessalonians 5:26 and Titus 3:15. The first one Philippians 4:21 says this: “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.” This passage is clear, we are to “salute every saint in Christ Jesus.” It does not say only of ones congregation, denomination or group. First Thessalonians 5:26 is just as unequivocal: “Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.” It says “Greet all the brethren.” It does not say one has to test it out or prove if that person is a Christian. However, if that person is a follower of Christ you will see fruit. The last one I want to talk about is Titus 3:15, it says “All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.” If we love Paul and all those who were with him at that time and if another does the same, another true follower of Christ, we have a command that we need to greet those people as followers of Christ.
Let not your authority be based foundationally on your own opinion, the teachings of your denomination or local group fellowship. Rather let us be biblical, and let us follow Christ and the Apostle’s teachings.Share With Others!