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He is not Ashamed to Call them Brethren

By Steve Vice

In Genesis 11, because of man’s pride, God confused mankind’s language which gave birth to different nations.  Recorded in Genesis 12, God set in motion His plan to reunite man in one kingdom through His promise to Abraham.  There is an old song, written by John M McCaleb, that says, “Of one the Lord has made the race, Thro’ one has come the fall; Where sin has gone must go His grace: The Gospel is for all.”  These words reflect Jesus’ purpose in coming to this earth (Lk. 19:10).

Isaiah 2:2-3 contains four very specific points of prophecy concerning the Lord’s house, the church.  (1) It would be established in Jerusalem.  (2) God would teach His ways.  (3) People would walk in His paths—His law.  And, (4) people from every nation would flow into this house.  The fourth point is the purpose of this article. 
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the word “house” indicates family and is also a reference to the Lord’s church (1 Tim. 3:15).  Notice carefully Isaiah’s words: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob…”  (Isa. 2:3).  There is but one house.  People who hear the gospel, repent, confess, and are baptized according to the Scriptures, are added to that one house by the Lord (Acts 2:47).  Jesus ordered the gospel to be preached to all nations so that obedient believers from those nations could be united in one, the same way in which He and His Father are one (Matt. 28:19; Jn. 17:20-23).
God designed the church so that people of all nations could be reconciled to Him in one body (Eph. 2:16).  Notice how Paul describes the people in the body, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).  Christians are no longer divided by nationality or borders.  They are united in the same citizenship with the all those who have been sanctified, and they are all united in that one household of God.  It makes no difference in what country a person was born because when a person is “born again” he or she becomes a citizen of the kingdom of God (Phil. 3:20).  In this kingdom there are no national borders. 

“Fellow-citizen” is defined as, “a native of the same town” (Strong’s Dictionary).  Note carefully Galatians 3:26-29:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

There are no “American Christians” and “French Christians.”  All Christians are just Christians, nothing more, nothing less.  Paul never said, “You Corinthian Christians…”  The church at Corinth had many struggles, but Paul always spoke to them and of them with respect.  He recognized them as “saints.”  He lovingly called them “brethren.”  He honored them by referring to them as “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Cor. 1:2, 10).  The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to say, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).  Eve is the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).  All human beings are the descendants of Noah and his wife (Gen. 7:23).  All human beings are blood relatives and cousins.

There is but one Savior, one King, and one High Priest.  All Christians are washed in only one blood and are adopted into only one family.  Jesus taught his disciples that they were all brethren (Matt. 23:8).  After Jesus’ resurrection, he met Mary and some ladies on the road and said to them, “Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” (Mat. 28:10).  “[M]y brethren?”  These imperfect men who had forsaken Him, who had cursed and denied Him, and who were hiding in fear behind closed doors, Jesus called them “my brethren!” 

The writer of Hebrews penned, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11).  The writer gives three points concerning a soul’s value:  (1) Each soul is worthy of the sanctifying and precious blood of Jesus Christ, (2) those who are sanctified are now one with each other, and (3) Jesus has no shame in calling them “brethren.”  Teaching all nations is as much a part of the Lord’s church as is feeding the hungry and caring for orphans (Matt. 28:19; Gal. 6:9-10; Jas. 1:27).  It is who we are.  It is what we do.

God has given only one Savior, who died on the cross to bring into power only one gospel which, when obeyed, produces only Christians, who are added by the Lord to only one church.  There is only one heaven wherein all the saved will rejoice with one heart, and sing praises with one voice to the glory of the one God for all eternity. 

Steve preaches for the Forest Park church of Christ in Lake City, GA
 

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