Apparently it’s not as easy as it looks. You know, those shows where a detective comes upon a body and either grabs their wrist with two fingers, or they pull up their eyelids to check their eyes, or they lean over to see if the person’s breathing, and then lean back and say, “They’re dead.” Apparently, it’s not necessarily that simple. A pulse can be hard to find . . . pupils may be unresponsive due to drugs or a deep coma . . . and someone’s breathing can be so shallow that it might only be detected by holding a mirror under their nose for several minutes to see if it steams up. It’s not so easy to tell if someone’s dead. But find a pulse, see reactive pupils, hear someone breathing and you know their alive. Pretty reliable vital signs indicating life.
As in the physical realm, so in the spiritual realm. There are some pretty reliable indicators that someone is alive spiritually. I came across one of those vital signs this morning in my reading.
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the worlds goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does Gods love abide in him? (1John 3:14-17 ESV)
Not to overly simplify, but it seems pretty straightforward. Want to know if someone has passed from spiritual death into spiritual life? Want to know if they’ve been brought out of darkness and into marvelous light? Want to know if they are slaves to sin or slaves of Jesus? Want to know if they love this world or love the kingdom of God? Then check their vital signs. Do they love the brothers? Is there self-sacrificing affection for the sisters?
The regenerate man is the one who has brotherly affection for those who have been adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus. The born again woman is the one who embraces those who are counted as the children of God because they’ve trusted in the finished work of the cross. Loving our Christian brothers and sisters proves we have passed from death to life (NLT).
Loving the body of Christ is not THE CAUSE of passing from death to life, but THE EFFECT. It is one of the outward evidences of an inward born again reality. It is the out-working of true faith. It is a fruit of the Spirit evidencing true life in Christ. If we love Him, we love His people.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ Jesus (John 13:34-35)
Not to be overly simplistic, but it seems pretty straight forward to me. If we struggle with the people of God, whether they worship like us or not . . . or see all Scripture the way we see it . . . then it should be like low blood pressure or a faint pulse–our vital signs are indicating a problem. That what should be supernaturally natural for us, loving the brothers, is being impacted by the disease we were delivered from. That the old sin nature is compromising the new life that is ours in Christ.
Good, from time to time, to check our vital signs. Are we loving the brothers . . . are we serving the sisters . . . are we letting people know that we are Christ’s disciples?
God grant us healthy vital signs. By Your grace . . . for Your glory.