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March 6, 2009 / beidson

Fathers and Mothers, Brothers and Sisters: How To Use Blood Against Temptation

There is good reason to be suspicious of songs and books and movies and poems andunited commercials that affirm the brotherhood of mankind.  Though there is a certain fraternal order to humanity, our kinship is not what it might appear to be on the surface.  Sure, we can hold hands and accomplish great things together, but in reality, we have been split apart by sin so that instead of being a universal family, we are only disconnected individuals.  This explains why we labor so much to get along with one another–we are by nature separated from God and from each other.  But there is more.

Though we are all descendants of Adam physically, we have also inherited his sin nature, and with him we are now subjected to the futility of the curse.  This is why massive efforts to unite the world always fail.  The Tower of Babel was no freak accident.  “We Are the World” has to be reinvented in every generation, because the curse hounds us like a rabid dog and is continually undoing any progress we might make toward solidarity.  In fact, solidarity is impossible, except in our purposes against Christ.  Though we may not be able to get everyone in the world to join hands across oceans and mountains, by birth, we have joined our hearts against the Maker of the oceans and mountains.  In this regard we are united, but this is because of the curse.

Adam’s bloodline may establish our natural kinship with one another, but a natural bloodline alone cannot bring the world together.  History will prove that we often do not regard this reality, since we often destroy one another rather than defend one another.  There must be a better kind of blood to bring us together.

The blood of the second Adam, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, is exactly the kind of blood which was needed to bring together those who had been torn apart by the curse.  In Christ, men and women become fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters to one another.  In Christ, the greater reality of a universal kinship is revealed and born-again believers are brought into the family of God.  In consequence, relational paradigms are shifted and barriers to true fellowship are destroyed.  What was only known in part without Christ may now be known with a greater fullness in Christ.  In God’s family, we are really family.

This is why Paul, when instructing Timothy on resisting temptations to sin, tells him to treat older men as fathers, older women as mothers, younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters, in all purity.  He was not merely laying down the rules of social engagement; he was appealing to a reality made clear in Christ.  The temptation to sin must be combatted by clinging together as family.  The Bible is plentiful in exhortations to use the familial nature of the people of God as a weapon against Satan and the antichrist world.  This is why Paul addresses us as brothers (and sisters).  The fraternal order of believers is a sign against the powers of wickedness.  The division which once lead us to fight against Christ and one another is gone, and our unity now stands as evidence and judgment against Satan.  Lust is put down when men and women look at each other with purity as brothers and sisters.  Widows are not neglected when we consider them as mothers.  Orphans are not mistreated when seen as siblings of our own.  Believers are kept from falling away when we go after them as we would our very own flesh and blood in order to save them from destruction.  Our blood is a new blood, and in it is the power of God to resist the Devil and submit ourselves to Christ.

And in a lesser way, unbelievers recognize this truth, even if unwittingly.  There is a reason why incest is morally detestable to almost everyone–the bloodline is too close, the bonds are too sacred.  There is a reason why most people tend to pay respect to older people, because they are like fathers and mothers in a sense.  There is a reason why younger people of the same gender as ourselves are treated as siblings, because we naturally want to lead and care for them.  Incest isn’t disgusting because of the physical consequences alone.  God has designed us in such a way that everyone understands that a particular bloodline brings people together in a way that causes us to love and protect one another.  So when we hear news of husbands beating their wives or children, or of kids killing their parents, we are shocked precisely because we understand these events as distortions of the natural order of things.

Unbelievers may honor their natural family because they intuitively understand that they are united by blood, but there is a point at which they feel they are free to start using other people for their own ends.  Believers may do this as well, but it will be contrary to, not according to, their new nature in Christ.  In Christ, there never comes a point when we may stop viewing a young lady as a sister and start viewing her as a sexual object.  There never comes a point when we can say, “For this guy I would die, because he is my brother, but for that man, I would never die.”  We are obligated, by blood, to know and to treat everyone as family within the body of Christ, and even those outside of Christ, since we anticipate the restoration of their broken fellowship with God.

The blood of Adam will not bring us together and will not keep us from temptation.  In fact, perversion and predation are part of our sinful DNA.  It is only through the blood of Christ that we may begin to know each other as family, and as such, to treat each other in purity.  Maybe we are physically unable to join hands across the oceans and mountains, but Christ sings over us, and his song has brought us together.


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