You've become a Christian and have now heard that you are in the "Family of God". You think, "What's that supposed to mean? Do I have to change my last name? I like my actually blood family, what happens to them?" Maybe you walked into church and you saw them all holding hands and kissing each other's cheeks and thought, "That's way too close for me! I know we are 'family' but I hardly know you!" Well, being a part of the family of God is more than just reunions and affection, it's about the most lasting and personal relationship you will ever have, that will never end and will never let you down (or make you wear an ugly matching sweater).
Being a part of the family of God means that you are one of God's children! Sure, we know God created the heavens and the earth and everything that comes along with it, and that includes you and I; but, until we are made right by God through our faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us, we are separated from our heavenly father by a big wedge called sin. Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:12, "Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (ESV) When we join into God's family through faith, that wedge is pushed away and we get to fully enjoy the relationship we get to have with God, the Creator, and live in His presence. So, then, what does living in God's presence include?
We are so lucky because being in God's presence doesn't just mean we get to sit and look at Him all day long. We get to know Him, call on Him for help, feel His love, seek His wisdom, bring our needs to Him and actually depend on Him to meet such needs. The Bible says, "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." – Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) The Apostle Paul sure did have a great way of explaining what it means to be in the family of God. In the family of God, we don't have to do life on our own, we don't have to have all the answers. We can make mistakes and go to God to help us set it straight (though we never mess up intentionally). What a relief that is! I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do is to do everything in this life on my own! I couldn't think of a scarier and more lonely prospect.
Not only does being in the family of God mean that we have this wonderful relationship with God where He guides us and helps us when we need it most; we are also brought into this amazing expanded family of other believers! This family is meant to strengthen and help you build your faith. When you are low, they are there to show you the truth of God's word and to build you up. When you need love, they are tasked with showing you love, the way God meant for us to feel it. When you need wisdom, they are there to give you a biblical perspective... and you are there in all those ways for them too! This is a family that never leaves, never alienates, never discriminates based on race or mistakes. This is a family that welcomes in the sick, poor, and helpless sinners because they understand that we are all sick, poor, and helpless sinners in some way. This is a family that lasts eternally from this earth to Heaven's gates and will share in God's glorious plan for all of us when Jesus comes back again. Being a part of the family of God means wholeness, love, and life eternally.
"Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)