The Church: The Family of God

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but… members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

What a change!  God made it possible for those who were once “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), to become a part of His family.

He made this possible through the blood of Christ.  Those who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).

This change takes place, today in baptism.  “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither make nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

Why is the church referred to as the family of God?  (1) It has to do with the love of God.  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).  He loved us enough to make it possible for us to be a part of His family.  Moreover, He wants to bless us.  We are, “if children then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17 cf. Galatians 3:29; Titus 3:7; James 2:5; 1 Peter 3:7, etc.).

(2) It has to do with our relationship with Jesus.  He lived on earth in the same relationship to the Father, that we do.  “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren”  (Hebrews 2:11).  He came in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:17; 4:15).  He lived His life in submission to the Father” (John 6:38; Matthew 26:39; Hebrews 5:8).

(3) It has to do with relationship between Christians.  Paul told Philemon that Onesimus should be received “no longer as a slave but more than a slave – a beloved brother” (Philemon 16).  Paul told Timothy to exhort older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters (1 Timothy 5:1).  How great it would be, if every member so treated one another.  We are to “let brotherly love continue” (Hebrews 13:1).  We are taught, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10).  Jimmy Jividen has wisely written, “One becomes a son of God when he is born into the family of God at baptism.  Because of this sonship, he immediately and automatically becomes a brother to every other child of God.  If God is one’s Father, then all of God’s children are his brothers.  Christians do not choose who their brothers will be.  They only recognize as brothers those who have been born into the family of God.  Brotherhood has nothing to do with ethnic background, social strata, economic level, or educational attainment or personal interests.  It has everything to do with one’s relationship with God” (Jividen, Koinonia, pp. 13-14).  Again, “One does not choose his brother.  He can only recognize him as a brother when God recognizes him as a son” (ibid, p. 91).

One should love the family, the brotherhood.  Peter taught “Love the brotherhood” (1 Peter 2:17).  Jimmy Jividen has written, “Concern for the brotherhood outweighed any personal rights or selfish desires.  This mutual concern of the family causes all who are children of God to treat one another as special people.  They give preferential treatment to one another because of the family ties.  They are spiritual kinfolk”  (ibid, p. 35).  “Never, never does not hear of an inspired man speaking in a derogatory way of either the church or the brotherhood” (ibid, p. 47).

We’re part of the family that’s been born again / Part of the family whose love knows no end/ For Jesus has saved us and made us His own / Now we’re part of the family that’s on its way home /

And sometimes we laugh together, Sometimes we cry / Sometimes we share together heartbreaks and sighs / Sometimes we dream together of how it will be / When we all get to heaven God’s family” (Song: God’s Family by Lanny Wolfe).

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God / I’ve been washed in the fountain / And cleansed by His blood /  Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod / For I’m a part of the family the family of God (Song: The Family of God by Bill and Gloria Gaither)

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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