Sisterhood in the Church

Cultivating Christ-Centered Fellowship Among Women

Serving One Another. “Through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Sisters in Christ serve one another by meeting each other’s needs. We might bring a meal, drive someone to an appointment, babysit, or even provide a place to sleep. Helping our sisters in Christ isn’t simply a nice thing do; it’s not just a good deed done out of the kindness of our heart. It’s a natural overflow of our connection to one another in Christ—originating in our union with Christ himself.

 

I have a dear friend who lives in the opposite end of the country from me. She is so far away, I don’t know when I’ll see her again. One thing I love about her is that she calls me, “Sister.” It’s not just an endearment or term of affection. It doesn’t just signify we’re good friends. Rather, it’s a statement of fact. For in Christ, she is my sister.

Union with Christ and with Others

The New Testament frequently uses the phrase “in Christ” (and similar expressions) to signify one of the most important truths of the Christian life: our union with Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Through salvation, through Christ’s atoning work for us on the cross, and through the Spirit’s work in our hearts making us alive to faith, we are united to Christ. In union with Him, we receive all the benefits of what He has done for us (i.e., justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification). “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Eph. 1:7). Only in union with Him do we grow and bear fruit. In fact, our union with Christ is so essential that, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Because we are united with Christ, we are also united to one another in the church. Though we come to faith as individuals, we are adopted into the family of God. All those for whom Christ died are our brothers and sisters. This means the other redeemed women in our local church are our sisters in Christ. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19–22).

Union Lived Out

One of the ways Paul describes our union with others is by comparing it to a human body. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:12–13). Each part of the Body is necessary and important; not one is better than the other (v. 15–26). Paul also tells us we are so united and knit together so that when one part suffers, we all suffer (v. 26).

What does this union with others in the family of God look like? The New Testament provides a number of instructions for how we are to relate to one another in the church. Here are a few:

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