Imagine authorities breaking into your home in the middle of the day and hauling you off to jail because you “belonged to the church.” James, one of the twelve disciples was killed precisely for that reason.
There are five Greek verbs in the New Testament which can be translated as belong. In Acts 12:1, belonged tocomes from the Greek word apo. To belong essentially means to have the proper qualifications to be a member of the church; in essence, true followers of Christ. We see this in Acts 9;2 (eimi), 12:1, and Galatians 6:10 (oikeios). To belong to the church, one foundati onally belongs to Christ. In Mark 9:41 (eimi), Romans 1:6, 7:4 (ginomai), 14:8 (eimi), 1 Corinthians 3:23, 15:23, 2 Corinthians 10:7, Galatians 3:29,5:24 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5,8 (eimi) we read about those who belong to Christ or who are sons of light and the day (another identifier for believers).
The Greek words eimi (Rom. 8:9; Colossians 3:5; 1 Th. 5:5) and zaō (Col. 2:20) can also convey belonging to the world or to night and darkness. John, the brother of James who lost his life to Herod, in 1 John 2:15,16 further warns against loving what is in the world—the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride in one’s life.
A person cannot belong to the world and to Christ. Either he follows the Messiah or he follows Satan (1 Timothy 5:15) who “leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9—NIV). Jesus-followers are influenced by the world and all it stands for, but worldly identification must be avoided at all costs and when transgressions occur, confession and repentance should quickly follow.
The right belonging is incredibly important. If we belong to Christ we have the assurance of salvation with the promise of eternal life. We have access to God’s power, grace and mercy. We enjoy rich fellowship, encouragement, accountability, love and edification from fellow believers. Conversely, to live apart from Christ is to suffer judgment from God and permanent separation from His presence. World-belonging brings pain, lies, hurt and betrayal.
I recently designed and will soon be selling T-shirts and Polo shirts that have on them a cross, and verse reference John 3:16 underneath the words, “Your Life Matters.” We should be desperate to ensure that no person held in bondage to the world misses the fact that God loves them so deeply that He sacrificed His Son. Why? Because He wants each person to belong, to be part of His family forever.
Like sheep, people have a powerful flocking instinct. They have a tremendous need to belong.—Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak in The Way Of The Shepherd
©2020 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)