God’s goal: Family is foundational in the new agreement in God’s country where Jesus is King. God wants us to have happy and healthy families. God’s creation of the family through Adam and Eve was good in God’s eyes. It is VERY good.
- Jesus speaks on the sanctity of marriage and against frivolous divorce in Matthew 19.The New Covenant makes many of the same commands and prohibitions as we find in the old one.
- The Apostle Paul talks about what the disciples homes should look like when he gives the twin commands of “children, obey your parents” and “parents, don’t provoke your children” in Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21.
- We see similar New Testament concepts regarding the importance of family in the process of salvation in the book of Acts when on two separate occasions during Paul’s second missionary journey, entire households were baptized at the conversion of one individual (Acts 16:11-15, 16:31-33).
- The New Testament sign of the covenant (baptism) was applied to entire households just as the Old Testament sign of the covenant (circumcision) was applied to whole families.
- Clearly, God’s desire isn’t just to save isolated individuals, but entire households. When God saves an individual, His desire (from a moral/revealed-will perspective) is for the family to be saved.
- In 1 Corinthians 7, the unbelieving spouse is sanctified through the believing spouse, meaning, among other things, that the unbelieving spouse is able to be saved through the witness of the believing spouse.
What is God’s design for family, and how can we have the relationships God meant us to have? Are the relationships I have with my family a proper reflection of my heavenly standing in the Messiah?
Sometimes, when a person comes to Jesus there isn’t much change at all, but in Colossians 3 Paul says that one’s relationship with the Messiah should affect everything. He begins the chapter talking about the believer’s new position in the Messiah. Listen to what he says: “Since, then, you have been raised with the Messiah, set your hearts on things above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).
When a believer was saved, he was spiritually identified with the Messiah. He died with the Messiah; he rose from the dead with the Messiah. He is now seated with the Messiah in heavenly places. However, this position should not simply be a mental note or point of theology for a the disciple; it should radically change his life. It should also change our approach to family and marriage. Our roles become clear.
It should change the way a person thinks. Paul says to think on things above and not on the things of the earth. This position in the Messiah should affect every thought. It will change how we love our spouses and family.
It should change the “clothing” we wear. Paul tells the church to take off the old clothing of sin and put on the new clothing of righteousness, which fits our heavenly position in the Messiah. Put on love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, bearing with one another, etc. That is how families should function.
Paul describes the priorities of our heavenly position, the outer garments of every believer. The disciple must let the peace of the Messiah rule in his life. We should make every decision based on the reality of whether this decision will disrupt our peace with the Messiah and his body. We must let the Word of the Messiah dwell richly in us. It must be our desire to know the Word of God more daily and to allow it to overflow in our lives. We also must do everything in the name of the Master. We must seek his glory in everything we do. These are the priorities of the heavenly citizen.
- Genesis 1:26–27 — 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.
- Genesis 2:23–24 — 23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.
- Psalm 68:6 — 6 God provides homes for those who are deserted. He leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a scorched land.
- John 1:12–13 — 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
- Galatians 6:10 — 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
- Ephesians 3:15 — 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
- 1 Peter 4:17 —For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the good news of God?
Frank Hubeny said:
I wasn’t aware that the covenant of baptism was applied to whole households like circumcision, but that makes sense.
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Love the beginning where you talked about identifying with the Messiah should radically change us!
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