Christmas is coming! Yes, I know we need to get there one holiday at a time. First Halloween and then Thanksgiving, but Christmas is coming. I know that because some places are actually playing Christmas music already. How dare they!
Christmas season for our family is a time when we do everything humanly possible to spend time together. I love my family, as I am sure you do yours. But according to Holy Scriptures family extends further than siblings, parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives. God calls members of Christ’s body, the Church, a Family. Consider 1 John 3:1: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Becoming part of a family can happen either by birth or by adoption. God in his infinite wisdom grants his children both. Children of God have been “born again” and “adopted” into His family. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:15-17).
In his book Adopted for Life, Dr. Russell More writes:
“Our adoption means that we find a different kind of unity. In Christ, we find Christ. We don’t have our old identities based on race or class or life situation. The Spirit drives us from Babel to Pentecost, which is why ‘the works of the flesh’ Paul warns about include ‘enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissension, divisions, envy’ and so forth (Gal. 5:19-21). When we find our identity anywhere other than Christ, our churches will be made up of warring partisans rather than loving siblings.”
God our Creator adopts us as his very own children, but it came at a price. In order for us to be brought into God’s family, his Son had to die. God sent his Son for us so that we can be His beloved sons and daughters. Jesus the Son of God was crucified and forsaken so that we can be brought in and adopted. That is the gospel reality. Think about it, what does that mean for you, for us? What are the implications of us being family? There are several implications but let’s think through a few of them.
We are to share our resources with one another.
Can you imagine a dad coming home and telling his kids, “Sorry, you don’t have enough money to eat this evening”? The Apostle Paul wrote this in the context of family: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28).
There can be no prejudices.
Again the Apostle Paul writes this in the context of family: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise (Galatians 3:28-29). God doesn’t discriminate in his family. Racial, social, and economic reconciliation has been accomplished in Christ. There are no distinctions. Those who trust in Christ for their salvation are adopted, and therefore, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. As a result, we should be united in Christ.
We all share in God’s inheritance.
Scripture teaches us that as God’s children, we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
“For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Many children will eventually inherit what their parents leave after their death. But in God’s case, believers are already acquiring the rewards of our inheritance by having peace with God through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Other rewards of our inheritance include the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit at the moment we believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that believers are blessed now with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. These spiritual blessings are infinite, eternal, and reside in Christ. And by God’s grace, we are given these blessings as His children. So, next time we see each other, live in community together, or gather together for our Sunday morning worship, remember that we are family. The gospel means we belong to Christ, and that we are brothers and sisters bound together not by flesh and blood, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:13-22).