Mark 16:15

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

Consequences of Conversion (3)

In this final installment about the consequences of conversion I want to mention one more consequence that is vital to the Christian life.
Conversion requires fraternal changes in our lives. Fraternal pertains to a family, a brotherhood. One of the most wonderful blessings we have is to be a part of God’s family. John informs us, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3 NKJV). This requires that we develop the proper love and respect for our brethren in Christ.
We must cultivate a love and regard for all members of the family we have been made a part of. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Col. 3:12). When we hear someone unjustly criticizing our brothers and sisters, we should quickly come to their defense, and say, “That is my brother/sister you are talking about.”
James gave some needed instruction about treatment of brethren: “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” (James 4:11). He also added, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (James 5:9 NKJV). Note, the ASV and YLT has, “murmur not against one another, brethren.” The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “grumble” to mean, “complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.” Murmuring is also usually done in an under-handed way. Does that ring a bell in your life?
Not only are we to be careful what we say about our brethren, we also must be forgiving: “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13). Of course this does not mean we forgive sins that are not repented of (God doesn’t do that) but we must stand willing and ready to forgive at all times. Brother Malcolm Hill used to say that Christians should make it as easy as possible for the erring to come home. I say, “Amen.”
The words of the song, “God’s Family” express it beautifully: “We're part of the family That's been born again; Part of the family Whose love knows no end; For Jesus has saved us And made us His own; Now we're part of the family That's on its way home. And sometimes we laugh together; Sometimes we cry; Sometimes we share together Heartaches and sighs; Sometimes we dream together Of how it will be. When we all get to heaven God's family.”

Paul M. Wilmoth