The Family of God

In Galatians 4:21–30, the apostle Paul tries to show the Galatians what the Scriptures say about the law and the Church, i.e. the family of God. 

We all know what a family is. A true family is a wonderful, tight-knit community filled with love, where all members help each other to the best of their ability. However, there is another type of family of far higher standing and far greater significance: the family of God. 

This family of God, His Church, is visible to the world. It made its debut at the first Pentecost in Jerusalem, when the Lord revealed Himself to the gathered disciples and blessed them with the Holy Spirit. Ever since, the family of God has always been visible to the world.

In Revelation 21:3, we read, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” God Himself is the father of this heavenly family, which He founded through the blood of His beloved son. Because He paid such a high price for His family, it is extremely valuable in His eyes, and He wants to make it glorious. The family of God is not a human institution or church because it belongs only to God.

He is the head and sole ruler of His people, and His people allow only God to lead them. All honor is due Him, the head. Let us worship only Him and not any person, regardless of title.

Because this is the Church of the Most High, its character must be godly as well. It must be holy, without stain or blame. Only then is it pleasing to the Lord.

If God is our head or our father, who is our mother? In Galatians 4:26, God’s Word tells us that “the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” The heavenly Jerusalem is the legitimate mother who is recognized by God and does not acknowledge any human institutions. Unfortunately, the Church of God is nowadays too often misunderstood and too rarely recognized. This Church was purchased through the blood of Christ and is led through the Spirit of God.

The family of God also has many children. In Revelation, John saw a multitude of countless people from all nations. Yes, God has children everywhere in the world.

The Church of God confidently bears His name. Many Christians today place enormous emphasis on self-assigned denominational descriptors. It is sometimes also said that the name does not matter. While it is true that the name of your church will not get you into Heaven, it is also true that, if you are a child of God, you will value His name and live in a way that honors Him. God wants to help us in this!

The Church of God is a nurturing mother. In her care, you can grow and thrive; truth is the food she offers her children. In the broader Christian sphere, there are a lot of false beliefs, which is why there are so many “sick” Christians whose growth has been stunted. So, dear soul, be careful about where you find your food! Not everything available is good for you. 

The Lord does not want His children to join just any human community. He wants to raise them Himself and in accordance with His Word and Spirit. He teaches them to pray and to obediently fulfil all of God’s wishes. How often has He already told you that you will not prosper in the place where you think the food is good? And yet, people often avoid fellowship with children of God in the Church of God.

Who are God’s children? The family of God consists only of people who have been born again. True salvation is the only way to join the family, and staying in the family means aiming to always do God’s will. The desire to do something for their Savior fills the hearts of children of God and motivates them to glorify Him in everything they do. These are joyful children, free from all bondage and overwhelming passions.

In the family of God, there is a wonderful harmony and order, since God is a God of order. This is apparent in creation, of course, but becomes especially visible in the Church of God. 

The first law in the family of God is love. Our hearts must be filled by love for the Lord and for our sisters and brothers. In this family, we support each other out of love as the love of God, in all its fullness, suffuses the hearts of His children through the Holy Spirit.

Are you, dear reader, a member of the family of God? Do you appreciate and love it? Then remember: There is only one family of God!

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