OUR Lord Jesus Christ calls those for whom He died and who have believed on Him |My Brethren
.| What a word it is! The Brethren of the Man in Glory! Brethren of Him who is at the right hand of God, the upholder and heir of all things! Pause for a moment, dear reader. Let your heart lay hold anew of this wonderful message of God's Grace; Brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ! What depths of love and grace these words contain! What heights of glory they promise to us, who were bought by His own precious blood! His Brethren now; His Brethren forever. One with Him, one with His Father and His God. Sharers of His life, sharers of His Spirit, sharers of His glory and His inheritance. Blessed, glorious truth, He calls us His Brethren.
It is in the twenty-second Psalm where we find this truth revealed prophetically for the first time. That Psalm begins, as we have seen before, with the utterance of the deepest distress. It closes with the shout of victory and of triumph. He who was forsaken of God on the cross, the blessed sin bearer, has received glory. In the midst of the congregation, His redeemed people, He praises God, who has delivered Him and who gave Him Glory. In God's own time, in the coming day of His visible manifestation, all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him. Then the Kingdom will be the Lord's.
He who suffered on the cross was heard |from the horns of the unicorn| (Ps. xxii:21). Resurrection was the answer from God; the power of God raised Him from the dead. At once, after the great work had been accomplished, there follows the triumphant declaration of Him whose voice had cried so bitterly in death, |I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.| And blessed was the fulfilment on that day of joy, when the tomb was empty and He had come forth, the risen Christ. To Mary Magdalene He said on that glorious resurrection morning, |But go and tell my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God| (John xx:17). What joy must then have filled His loving heart. From His gracious lips there bursts forth a message such as He never gave to His own before His resurrection.
The great work on the cross had been accomplished, sin had been put away by the sacrifice of Himself. The Only Begotten of the Father, God's holy Son, one with God, became Man; then passing through death, in which He fully glorified God, God raised Him from the dead. And now He gives the blessed results of His own work for those who believe on Him. He has brought us into the same relationship with His Father and His God, which He Himself holds, as the Man Christ Jesus, raised from the dead. His Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is our Father; His God is our God. And again we pause as we write this. Let our hearts repeat it: |My Father, your Father; my God, your God.| He has brought us into fellowship with His Father; He has brought us to God and the place He has with the Father and with God, is the place God's fathomless Grace has given to us. How little our hearts take it in! How little reality we possess of all this! And yet He wants us to enjoy it as He enjoys the fulness of joy in His Father's and His God's own presence. May the Holy Spirit work in us unhindered, that through His power we may lay hold in faith of this mighty truth and have it as a practical power in our daily lives. My Father, your Father; my God, your God and Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me, Christ, who loveth us, is with His Father and His God. In such relationship, brought to the Father and to God through the Lord Jesus Christ and kept there by His own Grace and Power, how happy we should be.
And because we possess now in virtue of Christ's work this blessed relationship, He owns us joyfully as His brethren. Hebrews ii:11-12 puts this more fully before our hearts: |For both He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.| The Lord Jesus Christ is He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified by His great work and are in Him, are believing sinners, reconciled to God by His blood. Both He that sanctifieth and we are all of One and this One is God, the Father. Therefore He is not ashamed to call them brethren. It is true we possess this relationship with the Man in Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, because we are born of God. We have eternal life, His own life, and that makes us One with Him. But this is not the truth in view here. It is the truth that He has identified Himself with us and through His death and resurrection we are identified with Him. And what it means |in the midst of the church will I sing praises unto Thee| we shall not follow at this time.
But let us keep it before our hearts a little while longer. The Lord of Glory calls us |My Brethren.| He who is there in the Father's house, in the Father's presence and on the Father's throne is not ashamed to call us brethren. He knows all about us. He knows all the depths of sin in which we are by nature; that by nature we were enemies by wicked works and children of wrath, but He took it all upon Himself and has taken it out of the way and now He looks upon us and all who have accepted Him by personal faith as being one with Him and one with His Father; therefore He is not ashamed to call us brethren. What a comfort it should be to our hearts! What joy it should create in our souls! He Himself received from God, His heart's desire and the request of His lips (Ps. xxi:2). And all His desire and request was in our behalf, that He might bring us, His many sons, to glory. And now He rejoices in us, for we are His inheritance. He wants us to rejoice in Him and with Him in an unspeakable joy and full of glory. Our souls entering into all this and rejoicing with Him in His salvation, enjoying the comfort of it; this honors Him and honors God.
It should end the discouragement and unbelief from which we so often suffer. Though we are weak and erring, imperfect in all our ways, yet He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Such a fellowship and relation into which we are brought once and, for all by the Son of God, should, if accepted in faith, dispel any doubt about ourselves and free us from all gloom and discouragement. Alas! how dull we are not to enter fully into the joy and comfort Grace has bestowed upon us!
And then think of the dignity and honor which is ours. Sons of God with Him; Heirs of God with Him; one with Him, perfectly identified with the blessed One in God's presence. Therefore He is not ashamed to call us brethren. To walk worthy of the Lord is our calling; and worthy of the Lord we shall walk if we have the great fact of our fellowship with the Son of God as a reality before our souls. It is a sad state to speak theoretically of our position in Christ, to know all this with our intellects and not to manifest it in our lives and show forth the excellencies of Him, who has called us from darkness into his marvellous light.
He is not ashamed to call us brethren. It should strengthen the love for the brethren. Love one another. The weakest, the most imperfect believer, that one who appears to us so unlovable and so ignorant, is nevertheless owned by him. Just let us remember in looking upon all believers, that he is not ashamed to call them brethren, that no matter where they belong, what their knowledge in the Scriptures might be, they belong to Christ, and are equally beloved of God. How we need it in a day when Satan goes about dividing the people of God. Love for the brethren, a deep, real heart love, will possess us as our hearts feed upon the fact of our oneness with him and with His Father and His God.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren. It will be an incentive to witness for Him. Dishonored as He is, it falls upon us to honor Him by our personal witness. While in the Father's presence He sings and is the leader of the praises of His people, we must sing of Him here and utter His praise on earth. He is not ashamed of us; how could we ever be ashamed of Him? What an honor to speak His worth, to tell out, though in feeble way, His glory and exalt His name. And yet we must beware of an unscriptural familiarity with Him, which the Holy Spirit does not sanction in the Scriptures. We must not address Him, as it is so often done, as |my brother,| or other sentimental terms, which our pen is reluctant to repeat. In all this we must not forget His dignity and glory. While He thus identified Himself with us and is not ashamed to call us brethren, He is nevertheless the holy Son of God, the Lord of all. As such we must adore and worship Him. Some blessed day we shall be just like Him. We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren (Rom. viii:29). That will be in the glorious day when we shall meet Him face to face. |We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is| (John iii:2). What it all will mean? What day of joy and triumph for Him, when He stands as the leader of all whom the Father has given unto Him, when all according to His prayer will be the sharers of His Glory. Then He will be glorified in His saints for they will bear His image and reflect His glory. What a destiny! Like Him and with Him. And this future of perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ and possession of the wonderful inheritance, which, in its riches we cannot grasp now with out finite minds, is rapidly approaching. How soon it may burst upon us!
Oh, friends, beloved in the Lord! Do we all enjoy this now in faith? Is it so that the Lord Jesus Christ becomes daily more real and precious to us? Do we live in the power of all this?