The Family of God
Family. We hear the word. We understand what it means. Sometimes.
I think it means belonging. It means that there is a place and a group of people that are yours (and you are theirs). It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it can be more painful than we would like to admit. But it can also be more wonderful than anything else in life.
God designed family because He knew it wouldn’t be good for us to live life alone. That was the first thing (and the only one) in creation that God looked at and said wasn’t good. “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). And so God made Eve for Adam. The first family was begun.
Yet that first family experienced the gamut of pain and dysfunction and hurt. It didn’t take long at all for the misery that sin brings to fall into Adam and Eve’s lives. They were separated from God by their sin but they were also separated from each other. The first marriage (made in heaven!) suddenly felt what it is like to experience distrust and discord. Yet that was nothing. The worst came in time.
What Adam had been doing on that day – the day – I don’t have any idea but I’m pretty sure that on that day his world came crashing in around him. Perhaps he was walking in the cool of the evening and thinking about life and the work he needed to get done. Suddenly the tranquility of the moment shifted. A figure was lying still before him.
“Abel! Abel! What’s wrong? Speak to me, Abel! My son… Oh God, what is this?”
We have cute little expressions like “when your chickens come home to roost” or “you’ve made your bed now you must lie in it.” But there is a grim power in the reality of a life that is turned from God. Adam and Eve felt it. They experienced grief and hurt they had never known existed.
Their oldest son, Cain, had killed their younger son, Abel.
The first family was shattered.
“You are free to eat from any tree of the garden but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Those were the words that God had spoken to this young couple in the Garden of Eden. Yet they hadn’t listened. They had chosen to disobey His words. Now they were tasting the bitter fruit of their disobedience.
We hear His words also. “Honor your father and mother…” and then there is “Do not commit adultery” or “Do not steal” but mainly there is “Do not have any other gods besides Me.”
Yet do we hear Him? Are we really listening? Perhaps you’ve rationalized your sin and made it small and light and secret. Yet you will reap what you have sown. That is also His word.
Our families are shaped and torn by the horrible effects of our sin. It would be nice if we could blame someone else, anyone else. But there is no shifting this heavy burden.
Adam and Eve were heartbroken. Yet even in their pain and despair God was at work.
“I will put hostility between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
Eve couldn’t have known. She couldn’t have known that the powerful redemption that would be needed for her and for her husband and her sons would come through her seed. But it did.
Jesus was born of a virgin’s womb. Mary couldn’t know either as the old man in the temple rejoiced over her baby. The light in his eyes died though when he looked her in the eye and grimly said, “and a sword will pierce your own soul.”
And it did. Mary watched her Son, the Magnificent and Mighty and Majestic Son of Man and Son of God, as He was nailed to a cross. She watched Him die and that sword pierced her heart.
With Eve she wept at the harsh reality of sin. But her Son was the Seed of that first woman that God had promised would crush the devil’s head. Jesus won the right for us to be brought back to God. He made the way for our families to be redeemed and healed. He made the way for us to be a precious part of God’s family.
Jesus died for Cain and his murder. He died for Abel and Eve and Adam. He died for you. He took your sin and your death sentence. And He is the hope of our souls, our families, our marriages. You can turn to Him and He will take your worst mistake, your most grievous sin, your shame, your guilt, your pain.
That is where our true family really begins.
Your brother in Jesus,
“You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”” (Romans 8:15, CSB)