The Church as the Family of God

The Church has many aspects that are identified throughout the New Testament. In Ephesians 1:22-23 the church is referred to as a body with Christ as its head. In Colossians 1:13-14 the church is referred to as the kingdom of God's dear Son. In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Christians are referred to as soldiers therefore comparing the church to an army. The church in heaven and earth is referred to as the whole family of God in Ephesians 3:15 and it is that aspect of the church as family that I want to address in this article.

 In 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul tells Timothy, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." When Paul refers to the house of God, he is not talking of a building but the household or family of God. In order to get into this family, we are told by Christ in John 3:5, "...Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

 How does God see us in this family relationship? Paul told the Christians in Galatians 3:26-27, "26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." We are identified as children. Additionally, our relationship to Christ as the church is identified in Ephesians 5:23-24, "23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." This clearly identifies Christ as the husband and the church as the wife. In this family relationship of wife to husband, the church is subject to Christ. In respect to each other within the family/church according to verse 21 of Ephesians 5, we are to be "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."

 How are we to submit to one another? I believe the basis of submitting to one another is loving one another (Hebrews 13:1). The results of loving one another is us doing good unto all men but especially those that are in the family (Galatians 6:10). It means bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). Finally, it means when we see someone in a fault, we that are spiritual are expected to restore such a one but in the spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1).

 Let me leave you with this final thought and question. If you are not identified with a local church, how can you function as a member of the family? Everything in the Bible identifies Christians by their very nature as givers. If you are not working within the local family/church, then you cannot be a giver and cannot bear one another's burdens.

 Charles Royal, Decatur AL