Members of the Church: Who are These People? (Part One)

Paul’s salutation and description of various Christians in Rome provide a flesh-and-blood glimpse into the people who are members of churches of Christ.

Consider the following traits embedded in Paul’s various personal greetings in the six­teenth chapter of Romans:

They are people with a common spiritual pedigree. Phoebe (v. 2), Amplias (v. 8), the household of Narcissus (v. 11), Tryphena and Tryphosa (v. 12), Persis (v. 12), and Rufus (v. 13) are “in the Lord”. Priscilla and Aquila (v. 3) are “in Christ Jesus”. Amplias (v. 9), Andronicus and Juna (v. 7) are “in Christ”. Though they may have been from various locales and backgrounds but are now living in Rome, they share a common faith (Titus 1:4) and a common salvation (Jude 3), because there is only one name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. The one Lord has given only one plan of salvation which all everywhere must obey to be saved.

They are people who love each other as family. Phoebe is “our sister” (v. 1); Amplias is “my beloved in the Lord” (v. 8); Stachys is “my beloved” (v. 9). Though some were Paul’s physical countrymen (vv. 7, 11), all were his spiritual brethren (v. 14) in God’s household.

They are people who are hospitable and friendly. Priscilla and Aquila welcomed their brothers and sisters into their home for worship every week (v. 5). Philologus, Julia, Nereus, his sister, and Olympas had saints who lived with them (v. 15). Greeting one another with warmth and friendliness is commanded five times in the first eight verses. The final command specifies greeting one another with a holy kiss (v. 16).

Saved. Loving. Hospitable. Friendly. These are significant and essential identifying marks of God’s people anywhere.

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Author: jchowning

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