"Timothy - Our Brother"
As Paul begins his letter to the Colossians he identifies Timothy as "our brother." "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Colossians 1:1-2) Paul held fellow Christians in high esteem. He looked upon "Brothers" with respect, kindness and love. He called Timothy “our brother.” How do you look at your brothers and sister in Christ?
Our Brothers are committed to God's salvation: Salvation is possible only because of Jesus. He "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:14) Without the shed blood of Jesus there would be no salvation. "And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22) Those who become believers are saved by the blood of Jesus when they repent and are baptized. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:36-38) All who are saved by Jesus are "our brothers." They have been added by the Lord to His church, or to His family. (Acts 2:47)
Our Brothers are consecrated to God's honor: The idea of "consecrate" is to be devoted entirely to someone or something. In this case our brothers are devoted entirely to God's honor. A true Christian is Christ-like in all his words, deeds and thoughts. He literally denies himself for Jesus. "Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Our "brother" tries to yield every though into captivity to God in order to bring God glory. "Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Our Brothers are sanctified by God's grace: Christians are those who are saved by God's grace. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) Those who are saved by God's grace are also sanctified by God's grace. "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." (Hebrews 2:11) A sanctified person is one set apart from the world. A Christian has died to sin, been buried with Christ in baptism, and has arisen to walk a new life in Christ. (Romans 6:1-4.) To our brothers "Christ is all and in all." (Colossians 3:11)
Our Brothers bear the image of God the Father and Jesus, the Son: Our brothers have been born into God's family so now they bear His image. To try to live the Christian life without being born into God's spiritual family would be hypocrisy. "Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:3-5) The chief aim of all brothers in Christ must be that Christ be formed in them. "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you." (Galatians 4:19) No one bears the image of the Father until He empties himself of self-righteousness and cloths himself in God's righteousness.
Our Brothers are aiming at God's glory: Sin is coming short of God's glory. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Brothers are "zealous of good works." Every brother should be "ready for every good work." (Titus 3:1) The result of loving and active obedience on the part of brethren is that God is glorified. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
Are you a Brother in Christ? Hearing God's word and believing is the beginning point. In order to be saved we must first believe in God and in His Son Jesus. "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24) Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God has commanded all men everywhere to repent. "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." (Acts 17:30) The reason for the command to repent is coming Judgment. (Acts 17:31) Those who do not repent will perish. (Luke 13:3)
A simple confession of one's faith in Jesus as the Son of God is a necessary step in conversion to Christ. "Then Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37)
Baptism is the final step in becoming a Christian and it puts one into Christ. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Baptism is for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38)
A Christian is part of God's family. God's family is the church. As a part at the church we must be a living, active member. Paul explains that we grow up unto Christ, the head of all things, "From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16) We are living stones in God’s building. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)
There is no privilege on earth like being a brother in Christ. There is noting that can prevent it if you want to be a true Christian. God invites all who are willing to come. (Revelation 22:17) Are you "our brother" in Christ?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA