2 Peter Series: Brotherly kindness/affection
We have been exploring 2 Peter 1 where the apostle Peter tells us that God has given us everything we need to escape the corruption of this world and become partakers of the divine nature (v.3,4). We should not lose sight of this incredible fact: we can be like God! We can share in His divine character! This is His desire for us, and it should be the goal for our lives.
As we pursue becoming like Him, the next Godly characteristic that we are told to put on in v.7 is brotherly kindness or brotherly affection. One of the distinguishing marks of a God-like person, a hallmark of discipleship, is love for our Christian brothers and sisters. This point is emphasized throughout the N.T.
1 John 5:1- Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ…and who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of [the Father] (ESV).
1 Thess. 4:9- Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another (ESV).
Romans 12:10- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (NASB).
Philippians 2:3,4- Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (ESV).
God makes it clear that the expectation of His children is that we put others interests above our own. We give preference to our brethren and are devoted to them in love. This behavior is exemplified by the first century church in Acts 4:32-35 where they went as far as to sell their land, houses, and possessions to show brotherly kindness to their needy brethren.
This isn’t the first time Peter has emphasized this point. In 1 Peter 1:22 he says, Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. Notice God doesn’t call us to just love our brethren, but sincerely love them. It’s one thing to say that you love your brother or sister, but sincere, genuine love goes beyond just words and outward appearance (saying hi, smiling at one another). It comes from deep down within: the heart.
What does brotherly affection look like? To name a few items highlighted in Scripture: bearing one another’s burdens; being devoted to each other; forgetting about any differences in race, socioeconomic status, occupations, or interests and building relationships with our brethren; making sacrifices so that our brother and sister’s needs are placed ahead of our own; imitating our Savior who came not to be served but to serve and give His life for His brethren.
May God help us continually purify our souls for a sincere love of our brethren and may brotherly kindness pour out of our hearts and be manifested in our daily lives.