Back in my youth fellowship days, we used to sing the chorus that goes: “In Jesus Christ we are one family, from now on and forever more”. The chorus, which has a quick and catchy tune, is just this one line repeated several times. At the time, we did not think too much about the words and just accepted the song at face value.
As the years went by, I heard and read many touching testimonies of self-sacrifice among believers. It has become my hope that the Church will indeed be one family in Jesus Christ – where each believer is a brother or sister of the Lord, and all are loving and caring towards one another.
However, becoming part of God’s family takes much more than just singing along together. Without a deep understanding of Jesus, it is difficult for us to be part of His family.
As the Apostle Paul wrote, it is when we really know Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption on the Cross that we may be reconciled to God, so that we are “no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Ephesians 2:19, NIV).
Human nature being what it is, there are those who will put aside family ties – and sometimes even disown parents, siblings, spouse, or children – for the sake of personal interest or gain. Even the disciples, who followed Jesus for three and a half years, did not truly know Him well enough, so much so that even before Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, they were fighting among themselves over who was more important. As Jesus faced arrest and crucifixion, the disciples’ promised allegiances to Christ and to one another were quickly forgotten. They abandoned Jesus and made themselves scarce.
Paul urged us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)
Only then can we become one family in Jesus Christ, from now on and forever more.
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –
was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference for two quadrennia from 2008 to 2016.
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