The Weak Brother For Whom Christ Died
by Inglis Fleming
“And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” (1 Corinthians 8:11)
Well it would be if each Christian were to look upon every brother from this standpoint, and to say as looking upon him, “The brother for whom Christ died.” The words are spoken with regard to a weak brother. His weakness might lead a strong one to slight or despise him because he was legal and not in the enjoyment of Christian liberty. But for such an one Christ died. The Lord of glory valued him at such a price that He died for him. Yes! He died for him as though he were the only one who needed His atoning sufferings. If Christ valued him so highly let us ask, How much do we value him? Or coming right home, How much do I value him?
This “brother for whom Christ died” differs from me. Perhaps he is but young in the faith. Perhaps he is ignorant of the freedom where with Christ has made me free. Perhaps he is not very conversant with’ truth I hold dear (this may be partly my fault). Perhaps he differs from me on points of doctrine. Perhaps he is not prepared to enter the company of Christians with whom I associate—perhaps he may not see eye to eye with me on certain ecclesiastical procedure—perhaps—but enough. It may be that he is not this or that or the other, BUT HE IS “THE BROTHER FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.”
Should we not look upon him then with the eyes of Christ, with the eyes of His love? And should we not treat him accordingly? If we sin against our brother for whom Christ died we “sin against Christ.” Solemn words are these! We are not under the law but under grace and we rejoice in our liberation from bondage. But “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” “written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
What were some of these things written for us among the many admonitions of the Lord to His earthly people, with regard to those who were brothers in the nation of Israel. “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth” (Deut. 15:7-8).
“Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again” (Deut. 22:4).
“Let there be no strife I pray thee, between me and thee. . . for we be brethren” (Gen. 13:8), said Abram to Lot, and magnanimously he gave the choice of location to his nephew.
If we turn now to the New Testament we shall find the same care for our brother is pressed upon our hearts and consciences.
“Thou hast gained thy brother” (Matt. 18:5).
“One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren” (Matt. 23:8).
“Then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42).
“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10).
“But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably” (Rom. 14:15).
These brief extracts are sufficient to show the care and consideration of our God for the feelings and for the interests of the weak and needy and erring among His people. May it be ours to think His thoughts after Him with regard to every brother in the great family of God, in the light of the fact that he is a “brother for whom Christ died.”
Is there not a danger of thinking a true saint, when we are apart from him, to be a foe; whereas getting into nearness with him we find him to be a brother beloved. It has been said that we may think a brother at a distance is an enemy. When near him we find true affection. Going down a hill in a fog to cross a bridge one may see a man approaching from the other side. He appears big and powerful being distorted by the fog. We may fear him. As he gets nearer we find he is only our own size. As he gets nearer still we may see that he is our own brother.
“Where is Abel thy brother?” was the challenge of Jehovah to Cain of old. “I know not, am I my brother’s keeper?” was the proud and lying response. May we be saved from the spirit he manifested and be found seeking the good of each “brother for whom Christ died.”