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Relationships Among Believers


Guidelines for relationships among believers including authority orientation, humility, love, privacy and forgiveness.


  • Guidelines for Good Relationships Among Believers
    • Fellowship with God, living by the Holy Spirit, and applying God’s Word are the understood prerequisites for good relationships among believers.
    • Oneness is the principle. The positional unity in the body of Christ is greater than any differences (John 17.11, 20-22; Romans 12.4-5; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Ephesians 4.4-6; Colossians 3.14).
    • Graciousness is the rule. Treat others as you desire God to treat you, in grace (1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Ephesians 4.1-3, 31-32; Colossians 3.12-13).
    • Separation is the exception, but may be necessary under certain conditions. Separate from those that undermine the authority and doctrine of the pastor-teacher (Romans 16.17-18), from those characterized by consistent and well known sin (1 Corinthians 5.9), and from those that are undisciplined busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3.6, 14-15).
    • Conflicts can be resolved if those involved will learn, accept, and apply the same Bible doctrine and so have the same thinking (1 Corinthians 1.10; Philippians 2.2; 4.2).
    • Stand firm for Bible doctrine, not for prejudice or speculation (2 Thessalonians 2.15; 2 Timothy 1.13; Jude 3).
    • God’s love is commanded for all believers. This love depends upon the subject who loves, not the object of the love. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (John 15.12, 17; 1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Galatians 5.22; 1 John 4.11).
    • People are to be given freedom from interference by another in what is not another’s concern, right, or propriety (1 Timothy 5.13; 1 Peter 4.15; John 21:20-23).
    • Forgive others as often as necessary (Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32).
  • Areas to especially note in order to maintain good relationships
    • Authority:
      • Authority is the right and power to command, enforce, exact obedience, make decisions, and judge. The central issue in life is authority. There is authority in angelic and human life. Authority protects, regulates, and makes freedom possible. Authority is a part of the Laws of Divine Establishment.
      • God is the supreme authority. All creation is subject to His authority (Psalm 103.19; 135.5-6; Isaiah 40.18-26; Daniel 4.25, 34-37; Acts 4.19-20; 5.29; Romans 9.20-23; 13.1; Revelation 19.16). God has delegated authority to certain individuals among mankind (Romans 13.1).
      • The authority within the local church is the pastor-teacher (Acts 20.17, 28; 1 Timothy 3.1, 5; 2 Timothy 4.2; Hebrews 13.17; 1 Peter 5.1-4).
      • The authority in marriage is the husband (Ephesians 5.22-24; Colossians 3.18).
      • The authority in the family is the parents (Ephesians 6.1-2; Colossians 3.20).
      • The authority on the job is the owner or management (Ephesians 6.5-8; Colossians 3.22; 1 Peter 2.18).
      • The authority within the nation is the king, constitution, president, governor, and appropriate delegated authority such as police officer, teacher, coach (Matthew 22.21; Romans 13.1-7; 1 Peter 2.13-17
    • Humility not Pride
      • Humility is a way of thinking about oneself in relation to God and others. Humility is rooted in the distinctions between God and man (Daniel 5.23; Philippians 3.21; James 1.9-11). Mankind ought to be humble because God created man. God's creatures are under God's authority and Plan. God's creatures are also under creature limitations.
      • Humility is a mental attitude which Jesus Christ demonstrated and which begins in the heart (Matthew 11.29; Acts 8.33; Philippians 2.8).
      • Humility is the mental attitude that is required for right action within a group of believers (Philippians 2.2-5). Humility accepts the authority and organization that is necessary in any group, even the church.
      • Humility is the opposite of pride or arrogance (Proverbs 11.2; 29.23; Daniel 4.37; James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5-6; 1 Corinthians 13.4).
      • When people abuse authority or reject rightful authority they have also rejected personal humility; the result is a disruption in the harmony in relationships with others (Numbers 16.1-35; Daniel 5.20-23; 1 Timothy 3.6; 1 Peter 5.5; Jude 11).
      • God planned that humility be a part of our lives (Ephesians 4.2): toward God (1 Kings 21.29; 2 Chronicles 7.14; James 4.10; 1 Peter 5.6) and toward people (Romans 12.16; Ephesians 4.2; Philippians 2.3; 1 Peter 3.8; 5.5).
      • Humility makes you teachable (James 1.21), makes spiritual growth possible (Proverbs 22.4; Philippians 2.8; James 1.21), always precedes true honor (Proverbs 15.33; 18.12; 1 Peter 5.6), and provides the capacity to receive grace blessings (James 4.6, 10; 1 Peter 5.5-6).
    • Love:
      • All love for others begins with love for God. The believer ought to love God because He is perfect (Deuteronomy 6.4-5; Matthew 22.37; 1 Corinthians 16.22; Galatians 2.20; Philippians 1.20-23; 3.8-10; Jude 21; Revelation 2.4-5). True love for God includes fear of the Lord and occupation with Christ.
      • God’s love through believers is toward all believers. God is the source. It is taught by Bible doctrine. It is directed to others without regard to their merit. It is commanded by God, unconditional, directed toward all, strong, stable (John 15.12, 17; Romans 13.8; 1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Galatians 5.22; 1 John 4.11).  It is a product (Galatians 5.22; Romans 5.5), a problem solver (1 Corinthians 13.4-7; 1 Peter 4.8), a protector (1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Romans 12.10), a producer (1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Galatians 5.13). This is the love spectrum of 1 Corinthians 13.4-7.
      • True friendship love is toward certain people. It is conditional, changeable, directed toward a few, and optional. It occurs because of qualities that are in common, liked, admired in the object  (Matthew 11.19; John 5.20; 11.3, 11, 36; 15.13-15, 19; 20.2; Acts 10.24; 19.31; 27.3; Titus 3.15; James 2.23; 4.4).
      • Christian love in marriage. God has commanded the believing man to have Christian love toward his wife. This protects his authority from becoming oppressive and ensures responsible leadership, protection, care. The woman is commanded to recognize his headship and authority in order to protect against rebellion thereby setting up the environment for orderly function (Genesis 2.18-25; 3.16; 24.14; Song of Solomon 5.16; 7.10; 8.6-7; Ephesians 5.22-33; Colossians 3.18-19). Marriage is a divine institution; it has certain responsibilities; it is for both unbelievers and believers.  These responsibilities apply whether a particular marriage was by God's design and therefore according to God's will or not.
    • Privacy, interference, talking, helpful interest:
      • The biblical right to privacy means that one has the right to freedom from interference by another in what is not another's concern, business, or right.  Privacy does not forbid friendliness, courtesy, or personal interest (2 Thessalonians 3.11; 1 Timothy 5.13; 1 Peter 4.15).
      • Talking about others and judging others means verbal interference into another's privacy.  It includes saying something, true or untrue, that may damage another person (Matthew 7.1-5; Romans 14.1-12; 1 Corinthians 4.1-5; Galatians 5.15; James 3.1-12; 1 Peter 2.1).
      • Helping and taking an interest in another believer is an expression of the divine love. It means graciously offering assistance to a believer or graciously shouldering a pressure that is collapsing another believer (1 Corinthians 13.4-7; Galatians 6.1-5).
      • Interest without interference (John 21.21-22) means that you take a genuine interest in the welfare of another without judging, gossiping, or interfering in another's 1) life and opinions (Romans 14.1-13; James 4.11-12; Colossians 3.23), 2) ministry (1 Corinthians 4.1-7), sin (1 Peter 4.8; Matthew 7.1-5).
    • Forgiveness:
      • Forgiveness is the lifting up and putting away the sin or mistake that another has done toward us. We are to forgive others as often as necessary (Matthew 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).
      • Forgiving others is based on Jesus’ death in our place on the cross. We forgive others because he forgives us.
      • Not forgiving others is not doing what we want God to do for us.
      • Not forgiving others becomes like a festering wound that is painful to us and will break open and contaminate others.
      • God severely disciplines the one who refuses to forgive others.

Last Update

Wednesday, October 31, 2007