Heb. 13:1 begins: "Let brotherly love continue." This Scripture and many others show that brotherly love is a commanded thing. (Rom. 12:10; 1 Jnol 3;10,11; 1 Pet. 1:22).
Many things interfere with and make it difficult to maintain brotherly love. Misunderstandings come. Jealousies and envies develop. Some brethren have personalities which grate upon and irritate others and make it difficult to love them. However, such things must not hinder love of brethren. There are many reasons for this. Let us consider some of them.
1. Brotherly love shows true conversion: -- John said: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 Jno. 3:14). Don't mistake this. Brotherly love is not one of the conditions of remission for the alien sinner, but afterwards a lack of it shows a lack of true conversion. One who will not learn this is not truly coverted. All of us should give intense consideration to ourselves in reference to this.
2. Jesus said that brotherly love shows true discipleship: - "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one anot her; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another: (Jno. 13:34,35). Anyone can tell whether or not any of us who claim to be Christians are really disciples of Jesus by the attitude we have toward each other. Oh! if we just had the power to see ourselves as others see us.
3. John said that brotherly love shows love of God: -- "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him" (1 Jno. 5:1). Turned the other way, that is saying that if we do not love the Lord's children, we do not love the Lord. Have we ever really tried to apply that teaching to ourselves?
4. Peter said that brotherly love or love among Christians covers a multitude of sins: -- "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8). This is of grave importance. Yet, brethren have used this as an ointment to cure all ills of brethren. This does not mean that brotherly love takes the place of forgiveness and the conditions of forgiveness as set forth in the Scriptures. Love won't take the place of repentance. Brotherly love won't take the place of anything. It has a place of its own. It covers sins by causing people to do what is necessary to correct that which is wrong. We can't love over anything which is wrong and make it right as some seem to think.
5. The apostle Paul said that brotherly love leads us to forgive our brother if he repents, and seeks forgiveness: -- Look at this and a number of other instructions as found in Col. 3: 12,14: "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Of course, Jesus taught that forgive ness comes after repentance. "Take heed to yourselves; If any brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him" (Lk. 17:3). So often this seems to be so difficult for Christians to do.
6. We conclude this article by taking note of 1 Cor. 13 where so much is said about love even though the main thrust of this has to do with the passing of certain first century gifts: -- It is obvious that Paul is talking about love among brethren. I quote from the NASV testament, "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails..." (1 Cor. 13:4-8). I am looking at myself and Dear Reader, I pray that you will look at yourself. What does all of this mean to us?
7. "Let brotherly love continue" (Heb. 13:1).
By Curtis E. Flatt in Gospel Guide, Oct. 1995.
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