The Story of Two Families
We know what brothers and sisters are in our own families but what do we know about God’s family. I asked my Mother just a few months before her death: why do you think God has looked after you all these years? She simply said – “I’m his child.” In other words she was saying I’m a member of God’s family; a member of the household of faith, which is the church, what else would he do. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15: “if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” We can trace the roots of this household of faith all the way back to the beginning of human history. When God gave the first gospel sermon in Genesis 3:15 he said in part: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” Two families are marked-out in this passage: the Lord’s family and the devil’s family. Both families will produce offspring; both families will be at odds with each other; both families will receive a just reward at the end of time – one will receive death, the wages of sin; the other will receive the gift of eternal life.
From the time of the fall of man onward we see the distinction between the two families. In Genesis 6:5: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” God chose to destroy what he had created with a flood. Noah, on the other hand is presented as blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. The Enmity between the seed of the woman and Satin continued, even after the flood. When will this enmity cease? When will the promised seed of the woman come into the world to unite his family and make their faith real? Consider Abraham! It is the presentation of this man as the patriarchal head of the family of believers that we begin to learn what it means to be a member of the household of faith and how God will bring all believers into this household. The key promise given to Abraham is summed up in Galatians 3:6-9: “Consider Abraham: “He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand then that those who believe are children of Abraham [and thus are members of the household of faith]. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you. So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith.”
Paul quotes David in Romans 4:8 when speaking of those whom God credits righteousness apart from works of law – that is apart from perfect obedience to law, which all law covenants require – when he says: “Blessed are they [like Abraham ] whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins the Lord will never count against him.” In verse 11 of that same chapter Paul states: “So then, he [Abraham] is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.” Who is Paul talking about here? He is talking about those who have a faith like Abrahams, those who seek to know the will of God and then do it. See Hebrews 6:13-20: “…we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.” What hope have we fled to take hold of? The hope that Christ really did buy us off from the curse of the law and that God really will count our faith as righteousness. After all, he promised didn’t he?