September 4, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
A Holy Kiss Today
“Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.”
1 Thessalonians 5:26
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A holy kiss can be a very precious greeting, and in some circles today, people do it all the time. For other people, especially men in America, a holy kiss has become culturally disfavored. Instead, a handshake, hug, or other gesture may be enough. The point, however, is the holy greeting.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:26, we read about the command to greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. Please notice first that Paul extends the greeting to all the brethren, not just some. Do you have people you know in Christ who you do not want to greet? Why do you not want to greet them? Paul made it plain that he wanted to be on good terms with everyone at Thessalonica, and all were to be greeted.
This greeting with a kiss seems to be a regular custom in the New Testament world. In Romans 16:16, we read the same expression: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 16:20: “All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” Again in 2 Corinthians 13:12 and 1 Peter 5:14, we read about greeting one another with a holy kiss. The common custom among those people and churches involved a holy kiss.
We touch here upon a question of “culture” versus “absolute command.” You could certainly argue that Paul commanded these people to kiss one another with a holy kiss. So must we greet one another with a holy kiss? You would be doing nothing wrong to do so, provided you made it holy and the other guy knew what was coming. But, Paul does not use any theological reasons for supporting this command to kiss the brethren, so you could also argue it was culturally appropriate back then, but in America today, it would often be culturally inappropriate. The bottom line here is that anytime you do what the Bible commands, such as greet each other with a holy kiss, you should not face grief from anyone, provided it is a holy kiss.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we greet one another with a holy kiss.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we use our greetings to let the other person know that we love them in the holiness of Jesus Christ.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we ignore believers and separate ourselves from other believers without a Scriptural reason to do so.
Application for Today
Today, I want to greet my friends in the holiness of Jesus Christ. I have never been comfortable giving kisses to everyone I know, but I will certainly give them some holy hugs in Christ Jesus. I want them to know I love them in Christ. Who will greet today in the holiness of Jesus Christ?