Vol. 8, No. 9
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I customarily read the obituaries in the local newspaper and one morning I observed something unusual. A lady who recently died and in mentioning her kindred, the point was clearly made that she was the great, great, great granddaughter of George Washington. It was evident that her family members wanted the fact of this lady's ancestry known.
It seems that a basic need we have is to know who we are and where we came from. Alex Haley's deep desire to know his family's ancestry led him over an extended period of time to do much research and travel. He then wrote the book, "Roots." We have known individuals who were adopted as children who made every effort to know the identity of their biological parents. While these people loved and appreciated their adopted parents, there was a real longing in their hearts to learn of their family background.
Even in biblical times, we learn of the Jews' great pride in being the offspring of Abraham. They would proudly exclaim that "Abraham is our father" (John 8:39). They seemed always to be involved in tracing their lineage back to the great patriarch. Paul warned Timothy not to give heed to "endless genealogies" (1 Timothy 1:4).
The most important family relationship, however, is not the physical but the spiritual. Most of us cannot gloat in a 'blue blood' ancestry. By faith, having been baptized into Christ, we are the children of God (Galatians 3:26-27). "And if ye are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:29). Jesus is our elder brother and we are "joint-heirs" with him (Romans 8:17). It is more important also to know where we are going than to know where we came from. This earthly pilgrimage will soon end and eternity will be before us. The question might be asked, "Where will you be a million years from now?" The child of God possesses confidence through faith that he will be with his Father. However, the person who has not been born of "water and the Spirit" cannot manifest that hope (John 3:5). Only eternal darkness, despair and destruction await that individual (Matthew 25:41).
We must understand that the end is better than the beginning. If one dies in Christ, he will live with the Lord throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity (Revelation 14:13; Matthew 25:34). The person who is only a pauper in this life but who is rich in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will have laid up treasures in heaven and will inherit the crown of righteousness that is promised to all who have fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith (Matthew 6:20; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).
The blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins is much more important to us than the blood that might be found in our ancestry (Revelation 1:5). The apostle Peter states this truth in 1 Peter 1:17-19, "And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."