“Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.” – 1 Thessalonians 5.26
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” – 1 Corinthians 16.20
Have you ever wondered why God through Paul commands the churches to do this? These divine and apostolic commands sound weird to our modern ears. Are we sinning against God if we don’t do this in our churches today?
Maybe the holy kiss is akin to a holy handshake or a holy hug or a holy high-five today. Being from a Filipino-American culture and married to someone in the Mexican-American culture, greeting each other with a kiss from cheek to cheek with family is normal. I can see how that can be “sacntified” or “made holy” in a Christian context. I’ve given and received many warm handshakes and hugs from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let’s think about why God commanded us to greet one another in this way. We’ll see that we’re still commanded to do this today.
So, why greet one another with a holy kiss? Because it forces you to keep clear and edifying relationships with everyone. When you begin to have a grievance toward someone the first thing to go is your greeting. Or maybe the warmth of your greeting. Or maybe the frequency of your greeting when you see a particular brother or sister in Christ. Therefore, Paul commands us to greet each other and to do it warmly. When we refuse to deal with the grievances in our relationships with one another we’ll either stop greeting, stop being warm in our greeting, or we’ll fake it. But faking it every time, the Spirit of God will press on your conscience that something is not right. Or your heart will be hardened. Either way, the command to greet forces the issue. We should thank God he gives us such a good command calling us to clear and warm relationships as much as it depends on us. The command to greet one another is an invitation to enjoy the glory of God in your clear, reconciled, and edifying relationships with fellow Christians.