The Church as the Family of God

When one becomes a Christian, one becomes a member of the family of God. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 states, "17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." God becomes our Father and we are brothers and sisters. A significant amount of the New Testament letters deal with our relationship with one another as family, which is the church. For someone to say that they can be a Christian but not a member of the church is to say that they believe in the idea of a "family of one."

One person does not make a family any more than a hand by itself can be called a body. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 12:14, "For the body is not one member, but many." When we become a Christian, we become part of the body. 1 Corinthians 12:12 states, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." Paul definitively declared in 1 Corinthians 12:27, "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." We are to be of such a nature that if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you are not a member of the body, how can you feel the pain and the joy of others of the body? The closer we are to each other, the more we can feel each other's pain and joy. This is the relationship we strive for in the family of God.

Being a "family of one," as opposed to being in the family of God, does not allow you to fulfill the law as Galatians 5:14 states, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." In the 'family of one,' love becomes an abstract while in the family it is fulfilled in action and becomes real. In the family, it is expressed by our obedience in following Galatians 6:1-2: "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." In the "family of one", we tend to think we are something, when we are actually nothing and deceive ourselves.

Being a "family of one" is like the old Army advertisement of some years back, advancing the idea of an individual being an army of one. In reality, it makes no sense and cannot really exist, while being of the family of God allows you to be all that you can be.

Charles Royal, Decatur AL