Gen 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
It seems part of the ministry of the gospel minister is to deal with those who don’t think they need the local church, the fellowship of the saints and the accountability that joining a local church involves. We all know someone who thinks that all they need is “Jesus” and that the church is just full of hypocrites and that they can take care of themselves. I cannot remember a time even before I entered the Ministry that I was not dealing with this attitude.
The NT knows nothing of maverick Christianity and the very idea that we don’t need other people stems from the same error as hyper-Calvinism. It ignores the means God has ordained to work out his sovereign plan. Just because God ordained the end doesn’t mean it will happen apart from the means he ordained to get there. This holds true when it comes to the Christian life. The Lord has graciously given us means to grow and serve. They include the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, human teachers and Christian influence and accountability to name a few.
In the above passage I find it interesting that Cain’s heart is exposed by the fact that he did not want to be held accountable for his brother. Obviously this was worked out in murder. Those that are under the misguided impression that they don’t need to be under the authority of the local church and in fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ are basically telling the Lord just what Cain was saying.
We see it today not just in the lack of church support but in how so many refuse to commit to marriage and children; because they don’t want to get tied down to someone else. But it couldn’t be any clearer that this is the epitome of selfishness as well as arrogance because to think you don’t need help in this life is just misguided foolishness. We need accountability, we need to have a sense in which others need us and we need them to have a measure of fulfillment and satisfaction in life.
Another way I know we were not meant to live in such arrogant isolation is because we are created in God’s image. The Trinity belies such an independent spirit because even the persons of the Godhead have always existed for each other. There has never been a time in all of eternity (and never will be) in which anyone existed by himself without a relationship with another. Part of being human is needing others. As Paul points out in 1 Cor. 12, we have much to offer others and we need what they offer to us, 1Co 12:21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." The desire to be independent to the point in which you refuse to be accountable to your brothers and sisters in Christ merely exhibits your remaining sin but it is not being conformed to the image of the eternal Godhead.
As always, the commands of God are always for our good. Our Maker gave us the local church that we might prosper as children of God; as a place to serve and grow and it is the ultimate support group. Submitting to the will of God always works better than trying to go it alone.