Pristine Grace

Which Error is More Grievous?
by Brandan Kraft
Which Error is More Grievous?

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."  - Joh 13:34-35

    Over the course of our walk in the Gospel the Lord puts in our way many friends and foes.   When we meet those we have agreement with, we recognize them as fellow heirs on our way to the Celestial City.  And part of our recognition of them is to love them as well as affectionally refer to them as "brother" and "sister."  This is symbolic of an acceptance that we are fellow heirs in the Gospel.  These names should only be reserved for those who truly are elect children of God and those who have passed from darkness into light.  It would be wrong to knowingly refer to unbelievers as brothers and sisters as that is a form of spiritual infidelity.

    But what about those who we're not sure about?  Do we embrace them as brethren?  What about those that seem to express Gospel knowledge, but aren't very articulate in their faith?  What about those who can't articulate Gospel knowledge properly for the most ardent of free grace believers?  Do we reserve the name "brother" and "sister" for only those we are 100% absolutely sure about, or are we fast and loose and call anyone who comes in the name of Christ as "brother?" 

    I think this is something we all should think about carefully.  On one hand, we don't want to refer to unbelievers as brothers and sisters.  And on the other hand we don't want to withhold our love and affectionate embracement from those whom the Lord has bought.  But for me, if I am to err, I think I would prefer to err on the side of improperly embracing an unbeliever as a brother instead of failing to love and embrace one of God's own.  If we are to err, let us err on the side of love!