Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. (ESV)
So many people love to criticize the church. The church is full of hypocrites they will say. The church is a place where people love to fight one another others will claim. And some will declare that the place where they received the most hurt in their lives was in a church. I cannot dispute these claims for sadly they do happen. Yet, the church cannot be defined by her failures. She is the bride of Christ.
In spite of all of the imperfections that currently plague the Church she is still beautiful. And while there is the potential to be hurt by her members there is also the potential to experience great joy and fellowship as we come together in one body. The Apostle Paul certainly addressed the imperfections of the church in his writings, but he loved the church. Paul loved the people in the church.
Paul tells the recipients of this letter to greet every saint in Christ Jesus. Who are those saints he is speaking of? They are not dead Christians! All of those who belong to Jesus Christ, having believed in his name, are saints. Paul knows that the saints he is referring to are not perfect. He also knows that he is not perfect either. Yet, he loves them and sends a greeting of love to them all.
Paul reminds the Philippian believers that he is not alone in the prison. The brothers who are with him also send their Godly greetings. Timothy and Epaphroditus were there with him. We know that from what was said earlier in the letter. There were possibly others as well. The point here is that even though they are separated by distance and even prison walls, they all share the bond of the love of Jesus Christ.
The next time you encounter someone from your church try to view them as a saint in Christ Jesus. Treat them with love, even if they do not reciprocate. The church is not perfect, but she is beautiful, and she belongs to Jesus.