One Body in Christ
When Jesus appeared to Paul (also known as Saul) on the road to Damascus, He said to him -
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And Paul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:4-5).
Paul was not persecuting Jesus, he was persecuting Christians.
Jesus is saying that hurting Christians is the same as hurting Jesus.
In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says that on Judgment Day He will separate all people into 2 groups. Those who showed love and kindness to Jesus and those who neglected Him.
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus is saying that how we treat Christians is how we treat Jesus.
“We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19-21).
By loving the people of God, we are loving Jesus; and if we wholeheartedly and genuinely trust in Jesus, then we will love Christians.
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18).
There is a special love Christians are called to have for other Christians and this is why being involved in a church where the Bible is honored as the Word of God and the gospel of salvation in Jesus alone by faith alone is faithfully preached, is so important. We have the opportunity to server Jesus by loving His people.
Jesus calls us to love all people and not just Christians but our love for the people of God is of the highest importance, just as our family takes first place above all other relationships.
What God requires of us is summed up in Jesus’ statement; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength and all your soul; and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40).
As the body of Christ, we are in a special relationship to God and to each other. God is our Father and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, so we are to love one another with the love God has shown us.
“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:4-5).
“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:10).
Christians, as the body of Christ, love one another because Jesus is worthy of all our love, obedience and worship.
As children of God, born again by the Holy Spirit through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead; we are united to God in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and are members of His body.
This means we belong to God and each other in a family relationship and have the hope of our inheritance in the new heavens and new earth. God is our heavenly Father who loves us with everlasting loving-kindness and on the day of eternity when we leave this world or Jesus returns, we will take our place in heaven and dwell with our Heavenly Father and all our brothers and sisters in Christ forever.
Until then - “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7)