One of the first events in the Bible is when God asks Adam’s son Cain the rhetorical question, “Where is Able, your brother? 1” God knew that Cain had murdered Able, but in God’s grace, He was allowing Cain to confess his sin and seek God’s forgiveness. Instead, Cain’s foolish answer was, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
Cain’s question has a clear answer – yes, you are responsible for your brother. Many mothers and grandmothers have asked similar questions to older siblings: “Where is Andy? You know it’s your job to keep an eye on your younger brother.” The term “keeper” in this context means to act as a protector or guardian.
Look After Each Other.
Turning back to the Bible, we find in the book of Hebrews the command, “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God2.” God’s grace saves us, and it is through His grace that we are productive citizens of His kingdom.
As believers in Christ Jesus our Lord, each of us carries a personal responsibility to be protectors of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s easy for us to build a wall around the meaning of this verse. If we narrow down this verse’s significance to solely spiritual aspects, we can claim that we have done everything in our power to safeguard our fellow believers from missing out on the grace of God. But how can others tell if we have?
It may be difficult for believers to know that we failed God’s command, but we know, just as Cain knew his brother was dead. You and I have the responsibility to help fellow believers from falling back into worldliness; that’s not an easy job.
Real Faith Produces Real Actions.
A 20th-century Chinese Christian and martyr said, “When two Christians happen to meet, their time together should be a time of mutual refreshing.” We should be a blessing to fellow believers, as they should be to us. When we part company, we both should be strengthened in our relationship with Jesus and in our determination to produce good deeds to show our faith in God to ourselves and others.
“What kind of faith is saving faith? James’s question3 is rhetorical; the obvious answer is that faith without works cannot save. Faith that yields no deeds is not saving faith. The New Testament does not teach justification by the profession of faith or the claim to faith; it teaches justification by the possession of true faith.”R.C. Sproul
What Are Good Deeds?
You may ask, “What good deeds can I do to show true faith in Jesus?” This starts with encouraging fellow believers to stay faithful to their calling. Remind Christians that are going through a rough patch in their lives what Peter wrote: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you4.”
We should be more generous than any unbeliever and love more sincerely than all nonbelievers. In our conversations, we should have the mindset of elevating Jesus instead of ourselves. We need to speak about the mercy and grace that God has made available to humanity through Jesus, the only true Savior.
Don’t Come Empty Handed.
When our day comes to stand before Jesus and explain what we did with the life He gave us5, we should be ready to tell of things Jesus did through our faith in Him. “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works6.” Therefore, in this life, we give by faith, help by faith, pray by faith, suffer by faith, encourage by faith, defend the Gospel by faith, do the impossible by faith.
Jesus, God’s Messiah, calls us to do what Cain failed to do. We must be our brothers and sisters’ keepers.
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