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What is in a family?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Christ related
The family structure as we generally accept it, father, mother and children is an institution created by God (Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image ...; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number’”). God has a material purpose for the family, but there are also spiritual applications hidden in it (Revelation 19:7-8, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. [Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints]”). That God is using the family to teach us important concepts, can be seen by the fact that the family is the backbone of society.
Take for example the following situation: Some very rich established family is watching the love relationship between their heir (son) and a young woman. They are anxious to find out whether the young woman is in love with the prospective bridegroom or with his position and money. God can be likened to such a patriarch of a rich, established family. His Son (Jesus) is the Bridegroom who is to get married. The bride is made up of the many individuals who respond to the Father’s call and will be able to enter “the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:10). God watches carefully to see wether the future bride is in love with the Bridegroom or the promised eternal inheritance. This relationship will last for eternity. And the Father is extremely rich. We are talking about major advantages: the most beautiful home (a renovated perfect heavens and earth), a city with streets of gold (who has ever had that), eternal health, fellowship with the Father and Son (the face of the invisible God will be seen), the very best food (the tree of life that bears fruit twelve times a year) - Revelation 21, 22.
There is usually a time of betrothal when two people decide to get married. God planned it like that: it is a time to make sure that their love is steadfast. Betrothal time (life on earth before death) is the time in which God finds out how steadfast is the love of Christians for Jesus Christ. Are they willing to obey the Son (John 14:23)? Are they willing to fall in with the Family habits (holiness)? Are they willing to submit to the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit? Do they like to be with Jesus (love to read and meditate on his Word, talking to Him in prayer)? Or are they feigning love, always trying to be busy, like someone who puts up a show to hide the lack of deep seated love? Do they have a secret lover (the world) that they really fancy? The Father will never allow His Son to get married to someone who fancies another one. Why would He? He knows the Son’s worth and is in no way going to allow an adulterous woman to share his future. Men and women can feign love for various reasons and succeed. With God it doesn’t work. He gives Christians enough time and problems to make very sure they love the Son. Trials and temptations have a goal: to weed out the hypocrites, those who want the advantages, but not the love relationship. These are all the tests that have to be passed before becoming the bride of the most wonderful Bridegroom the world has ever known.
Application: One can use the analogy of a family to answer people’s questions, like:
Is it necessary for believers to get married? Yes, because the covenant of marriage points to God’s covenant of love with His bride, the church.
Can a divorced believer just move in with another person? No, God’s love requires that a man and woman make a specific, official arrangement that binds them together, so that one cannot easily leave the other in the lurch.
Why shouldn’t one be divorced if there is no harmony? God planned a man and woman to live together for a life time to spare the family heart ache. (The marriage is also a training ground, to teach the parties to accept, love and cherish the others, with the help of the Holy Spirit.)
What does a relationship mean? Isn’t it good enough just to go to church? A relationship is built on knowledge, communication and the sharing of lives. A person cannot develop that closeness with God only in an assembly; he/she has to spend time alone with the Holy Spirit reading God’s Word, praying and depending on daily guidance.