Words like son or daughter or even family bring up feelings that are personal to the stories in which we’ve experienced them. To some son or daughter is a positive descriptor, one that tells you that you belong, that you’re part of something bigger or perhaps that you are loved by someone. Perhaps though son or daughter brings up a negative descriptor, one that you’ve been harmed by. How we define the word family is similar isn’t it?
We all have a family but our view of it is largely formed by our own experience.
Perhaps though, your relationship in your family has been shaped by your own sin, and the things you may believe that you have done to distance yourself from your family. Maybe that’s lying, or cheating, breaking trust or maybe you’ve made choices that have disrespected your parents or your siblings. And maybe these things have made room for you to believe that you don’t belong, you don’t deserve love or perhaps even that you weren’t made for family.
Our family viewpoint is can also be formed by our own sin.
The Bible offers us the gospel to dispel these thoughts, to give us another life to live out of and an identity that is rooted outside of the good or bad we’ve done. As believers, we are offered a life that is marked as worthy and blameless because of Christ’s life. And because of His life we have been given all that we need to be a part of the family. It is not deserved through our doing but has been determined by God the Father through Jesus’ life.
Read Ephesians 1:3-6
The gospel offers us a restored view of family. Perhaps to some of us it will appear foreign, too good to be true, or even unbelievable. In the book of Ephesians Paul writes to a body of believers for the purpose of encouraging them and uniting them in Christ.
The passage starts out by inviting worship in the form of praise to the Father, for the reason of His given blessings to us through Christ. This means: it is not out of our goodness that we have been blessed but through the goodness of Jesus. This good news releases us from the need to earn our way into the family. The work has already been done! And done in such an incredible way that allows us to accept the blessing free of guilt and shame as they have come as gift, not deserved but determined as yours to receive. He is not talking here about physical blessing such as food or shelter, but spiritual blessings that were secured in Christ and found in Him. A blessing that allows us to experience a full relationship with God.
Next we read that God chose us before the formation of the world. This is nothing less than an unworldly statement. This has a few realities attached to it. First, if God chose us before the formation of the world then He chose us before our own creation. Before we were knit together in our mother’s womb He chose us knowing that it would be through Christ that He would see us; holy and without fault. That means that as sinners He chose us, fully aware of our sin and shame, fully aware of the temptations we would face and the sin we would choose, He chose you! Because He loved you enough to make a sacrifice of His perfect Son so you too could be seen without blame.
You are His
Further in, we read that in love He predestined us for adoption, meaning that what you have done, encountered, or experienced can not get in the way of who you are in Him. Further bringing us into a family of saved sinners who are in desperate need of Jesus and who have become full heirs of the promises God has made to His people.
If it were a matter of our sin, we would be orphans. Instead, because it’s a matter of His love, we are fully adopted, fully loved, fully chosen: sons and daughters.
The passage ends with praise for His glorious grace, He wanted you before you were, He provided for you before you knew you needed Him, and He chose to adopt you as His own because He wanted to not because He had to. To Him be the glory forever.
How has your experience of family shaped your view of your belonging?
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