June 21, 2013
READ: Ephesians 2:11-22
You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family (v.19).
We often say in the church that we’re a family, and we address each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. But what does that really mean? What implications does the word family hold?
We read in Ephesians 2:19, “You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” Note that the word you refers to the Gentiles. In other words, the Gentiles are now members of God’s family with the Jews. It might be difficult to fully appreciate the significance of Paul’s statement, so let’s check out some of the ancient Jewish laws according to one scholar:
• It was unlawful to render help to a pregnant Gentile woman during the birth of her baby, for that would simply result in another Gentile coming into the world.
• If a Jewish boy married a Gentile girl, or if a Jewish girl married a Gentile boy, the death of that Jewish boy or girl was required.
Until Jesus came, the Jews had an immense contempt for the Gentiles. But He reconciled both the Jews and Gentiles to God—and to one another (v.14).
So the word family connotes unity, and it also suggests a bond deeper than citizenship. It’s a relationship made possible by the blood of Christ, and it has nothing to do with how we feel about one another. It also necessitates that we put aside our prejudices, and that we should serve and care for one another, for we are God’s family.
Songwriter Bill Gaither wrote, “You will notice we say ‘brother and sister’ ’round here. It’s because we’re a family and these are so near; when one has a heartache, we all share the tears, and rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.”—Poh Fang Chia
Read Hosea 2:1 for the new way God wants us to see our brothers and sisters in Jesus.
How have you not been treating members of God’s family as your brothers and sisters? Why do you think God wants us to know that in Him we are family?