Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:21-23)
Saluting Our Brethren
The family was the first institution of humanity where the Lord brought the man and woman together to form a union of love, concern and to fulfill a need. When God created Adam He recognized it was not good that he be alone. Creating the woman provided a help-meet to Adam and created the bond of familial relationship vital for human survival. The church of God is formed as a family called the household of God made up of brethren who call one another brother and sister. Jesus died to purchase the church with His blood and His purpose was to bring all men together for the union of the eternal family of God. There is no greater relationship shared with the human bond as strong as the covenant with the heavenly Father. The church is mirrored as the bride of Christ suggesting the spiritual marriage of all those who are in Christ. Earthly families will end in death but the family of God that makes up the church of Christ will never cease as eternity opens its wings to accept all the saints in the eternal family of God. Paul often alluded to his spiritual family as he began his letters and more often than not when he closed his letters. The letter he writes to Rome includes a large list of individuals named as precious and dear to him. His letter to the saints in Christ Jesus who were in Philippi concludes with an admonition of greeting or saluting the brethren with him in Rome and those in Philippi. It should not be overlooked the importance of seeing how Paul admonishes the early disciples to have care and concern for one another.
Greeting one another is a sign of spiritual hospitality. This shows personal interest in others to acknowledge them and make them aware of brotherly love for one another. One of the most important aspects of the Christian’s relationship with the Father is the relationship with the children of the Father. Forgiveness will not be granted from God if the person is unwilling to forgive others. The vertical relationship with the Father will be determined by the horizontal communion the disciple has with his fellow brethren. Greeting one another is showing the love of others. People of God are not unfriendly towards their brethren. Can the Father in heaven be pleased when He looks down on His children who squabble, fuss and fight with one another? As earthly parents, this kind of conduct is not tolerated. Paul wanted the saints at Philippi to know that his brethren loved them and they sent kind regards and salutation in Christ. Greeting every saint in Christ Jesus should be the common feeling among all of God’s children. It is unimaginable that within a congregation of the Lord’s disciples there is envy, strife, malice, and prejudice. Paul did not suggest greeting only the rich or popular. His admonition was simply to greet one another in the love of Christ. Love of the brethren is the hallmark of the church and identifies to the world the church is united under the banner of Jesus Christ. The world will know who the disciples of Christ are by the way they love one another expressed in how they greet one another. God gave His salutation to all men by giving them His only begotten Son. How can the people of God do any less to those who are fellow saints and soldiers of the Christ?
Greeting one another changes people. Some may argue they are reserved and bashful and unable to reach out to others. When the church is united under the common banner of God’s grace, there is nothing to hinder a person from reaching out to another and extend to them a greeting of kindness, a word of encouragement and prayer of hospitality. The more the church greets one another the greater the cause of joy fills the heart of the congregation. This will be evident by those who visit. A warm and receptive group of saints will impress upon the minds of those who visit a service of these saints how important the relationship of brother love must be. Greeting every saint by the grace of Jesus Christ will show the love of God in the heart, the hand and the voice. A vibrant and healthy group of God’s saints are people who enjoying saluting one another in the spirit of Christ. Take time to be holy. Reach out and greet your neighbor, your friend and especially your fellow Christian. It will change you and change the world you live in for the better.