|Vol. 1, No. 1||Page 8||January 1999|
The Family of Christ
To write about the family of Christ is very needful but it is more needful for us to truly make the church the body of Christ as the family of Christ.
The phrase "family of Christ or family of God" is not used directly in the King James and American Standard versions of the New Testament. However, the relationships are clearly expressed so that it is certainly Scriptural to speak of the family of God and the family of Christ. The Scripture repeatedly calls God Father. The term brethren is used many times as an address of faithful Christians. They are beloved brethren and faithful brethren.
The term sister is likewise used to express the closeness of one member of Christ's body to the rest. The entire fellowship of the church is described by the term brotherhood (1 Peter 2:17; Rom. 12:10; 1 Thess. 4:9).
Hebrews 2:11-12 indicates that Christ is what some call our elder brother. "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise." Many see in this Christ as the first brother or the elder brother.
As one reads all of these Scriptures speaking of the relationship between brothers, sisters and father and elder brother one is impressed with the fact that Christ's family is important to Him and we have love and protection of the Heavenly Father and of Christ our Savior.
Another phrase that shows the closeness of the family of Christ is the phrase "love one another" and all of the similar love one another passages. We are to have the same care one for another. We are to be like a body caring for each and every member of the body.
Since the church is the body and is the family of God, several lessons may be drawn from this fact. First, we should be united as a family. A good family stands together and is united. They may have some differences among themselves but when the family is threatened by a third party all of the family members come together to support, encourage and defend each other. Apart from a strong Christian culture, this is one of the strongest traits of mankind, in general, throughout all of society. Families support and help one another.
How much more should those who are children of God and brothers of Christ, brothers and sisters of each other support, encourage and defend each other. We should see that no brother or sister lacks food or clothing or lodging or any necessity of life. This was characteristic of the church in Jerusalem as noted in Acts Chapter 2 and Chapter 4.
The family is designed to feed and protect each member thereof. Christians should then strive to protect and help every brother or sister. As children grow and mature, they must have help from parents and older brothers and sisters. Every older Christian should be involved in nurturing younger Christians as they would younger brothers and sisters in Christ. We should teach them what they need to know to be successful in Christ.
God is our Father. By His strength and power He enables us to overcome sin and to walk in righteousness. Christ as our elder brother and the heir of all things from God is able to walk beside us to encourage us and to help us to overcome evil and to do righteousness. Each brother and each sister should be constantly encouraging one another and making each other strong.
Let us truly prize our membership in the family of God and the family of Christ. Many human families prize the fact that they are a descendant of some famous person who helped to establish our country or to do some other great thing. Our Heavenly Father has created all things and given us the gift of life and all the blessings of life. We should be proud to be a member of His family and always exalt and praise Him.
People become a member of God's family or the family of Christ by the new birth. Jesus indicated in John 3:1-5 Ďexcept one be born again or born anew he cannot enter into the kingdom of God, but if one is born of water and the Spirit he can become a child of God.í Other Scriptures make clear that being born again is accomplished by developing faith and then being buried with the Lord in baptism to arise to walk in a new life. If you are not a member of the family of God, reflect upon this and realize that you should be. If you are a member of the family of Christ, then act like God's children in every walk of life.
The poet has written the great song, "God's Family." Its words thrill our ears and help us to develop the concept of family.
We're part of the family that's been born again;
When a brother meets sorrow, we all feel his grief;
An tho' some go before us, we'll all meet again;
How blessed we are to be called and to actually be the family
of God and Christ. Because we are His family we have His love, His protection,
His provision, His teaching, His guidance, His providence and every needful
thing for a rich life here and the life eternal.