Like every other person on this planet I was raised by well-intentioned, though misinformed people who taught me "we're all God's children" and that we are "our brother's keeper". This sounded logical to my human nature and understanding, so I just accepted it without question. Many years later, the Lord was pleased to "reveal His Son in me", bringing me through regeneration and conversion into that intimate relationship with Him that all believer's share - "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, THAT YE ALSO MAY HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH US: AND TRULY OUR FELLOWSHIP IS WITH THE FATHER, AND WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST." "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."(I Jn.1:3,7) When the Lord was pleased to awaken me to these truths, according to His express command I immediately began to question everything I had heard, as well as everyone from whom I heard it.
That brings me to the question posed in the title of this article: Who are our brethren? Now I know I have a natural brother, born of the same father and mother. Most of you have natural siblings as well. I have acquaintances and friends who attend other churches of various faiths. For the most part, all of them or most of them have made what the world calls "a profession of faith". My question to you is: ARE THEY OUR BRETHREN? I know a lot of people, even those who consider themselves "reformed", who consider ALL MEN WHO HAVE MADE A PROFESSION OF FAITH IN JESUS as "brethren". For the most part, they take this position because of their natural affection toward those who are close to them, especially their mother, father, brothers, sisters, or close kin who believe another gospel. I would ask you is this position a Scriptural position for one who has believed the one true Gospel as their only hope of salvation? Do the Scriptures give us any light on this subject? Fortunately, they do. In Matt.12, our Lord's natural mother Mary and his natural brothers sought to speak with him and one came and told Christ of their desire. His response was: "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?"(Matt.12:48b) He then continued His thought in this manner, answering the question we have posed in this article: "And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For WHOSOEVER SHALL DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."(Matt.12:49,50) Our Lord clearly told us WHAT it is to do "the will of the Father" - "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have (in the original Greek the words translated "may have" actually mean HATH, or already has in their possession) everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" - Jn.6:40.
In II John 9-11, the Apostle John warns us concerning WHO we embrace as brethren: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." If ANYONE, whether they are my mother, father, brother, sister, or friend, DOES NOT ABIDE in the doctrine of Christ, THEY "HATH NOT GOD", indicating they are lost without Christ, and therefore they are "in the world". What did our God tell us concerning our love of the world? "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (I Jn.2:15) Our Lord was very clear on this subject: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."(Matt.10:37) If we will compromise God's glory, which is HOW He can be both "a just God and a Saviour" in order to include our relatives who have trusted "another jesus" and have believed "another gospel" among those who are in heaven, we evidence ourselves to be, at best, babes in Christ, or at worst to be those who are unregenerate, yet "dead in trespasses and sins". Be very careful WHO you embrace as your brother in Christ.