The Family of God

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  (John 1:12-13)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Yesterday we considered the truth that in Christ, God now looks upon the people of God and considers us all justified – legally cleared from the guilt of our sin. But that justification initiates something equally profound: God uses that pardon to adopt us into His family!

We don’t use the terms family, brother or sister when referring to the church because it sounds quite cute and familiar. We use those terms because that is exactly how God sees us together.

Throughout the Old Testament, God is only referenced as Father some 15 times, and it is usually in relation to his being the Father of the nation of Israel as a whole. But when Jesus, the Son of God, appears, everything changes. In the gospels alone, there are approximately 165 references to God as Father – but now from a personal perspective, not just a national one.

It’s only through Christ that we find the revelation that God truly is our Father. And it is only in Christ that our personal position as son or daughter is realised.

I want to appeal to us as a church family. We all started from a position of not deserving God’s love, but we got it.  We all started from a position of guilt, but we’re now justified as guiltless before God. We all started as outsiders from God’s people, but now we have been invited into the very centre of God’s family life. Let’s enjoy this together!

There have been times when I have met a Christian for the first time and within a very short space of time felt a very close connection with them – far closer than some of the relationships outside of my church family that I’ve invested in for many years. That is because our shared adoption into one family creates a bond with other believers and signifies the power and the truth of the doctrine of adoption. It is something which is distinct from our justification, but which is a wonderful privilege that we can enjoy through the Gospel.

As brothers and sisters, we can come before God together and acknowledge him as our Creator, Provider, Healer, Lord and Shepherd (to name but a few). But the title that is most intimate and that conveys the highest privileges of fellowship with him for eternity, is when we come before him together and address him as our Father. That’s why it isn’t just a cute saying when we call church God’s family. It is a momentous reality.

Just as no earthly family is perfect, no church family is perfect. But it’s important to often remember that we are still a family. It helps us to avoid the temptation to bring a consumer mindset to our involvement with the people of God, treating our church involvement as something that can easily be picked up and put down, depending on how the mood fits. No – we’re brothers and sisters. Not just for life, but for eternity!  
  • How has being part of an earthly family influenced your perceptions of being part of God’s family?
  • In particular, how does it really make you feel to refer to God as Father? Does that title have negative or positive associations?
  • Whether you have had good or bad experiences of earthly fatherhood, the Lord is your perfect Heavenly Father. Be honest with him about what the word ‘father’ means to you, and then worship him as your perfect Father.
Father God, I thank you that you loved me enough to save me and that you also loved me enough to include me in your family. I thank you that my adoption as your child was truly and fully achieved by your Son. Please Holy Spirit, If there is anything hindering my delight in being part of your family, I invite you to reveal it to me now. Reveal it to me and enable me to hand it over to you so that I can enjoy my position as a precious child of God. Then please enable me to help my brothers and sisters at church to delight in their own adoption too. For your glory. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Adam Bream, who leads our Southfields venue.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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