I would like us to ponder the concept of the family of God for a moment.
First, if God’s throne is in heaven and the earth is His footstool, where is His house? (Acts 7:48-50)
So, let’s please stop calling our buildings the “house of God.” It’s confusing and just plain wrong. YOU are the house of God. We cannot “go to church,” we can only “be the Church.” Amen.
Yet we’re not the “house of God” as individuals. While we do come to Him individually as a “living stone,” we are being shaped and fashioned together corporately to make up this spiritual house (1 Pet.2:4-5).
Now, this is not deep…really. At least it shouldn’t be. Religious earthbound myths about Christianity have put us in a spiritual stupor, dumbed down our understanding, thus turning this into something “deep.”
No, this is Christianity at its most foundational level.
But even so, all of this is from man’s perspective. It still doesn’t touch the very center of the eternal purpose of God (Eph.3:11).
Let’s look at it from God’s perspective…okay, this might be a little deeper. But the story is not unfamiliar to our human experience.
From eternity, God has always been a Father who wants a bride for His Son and who wants a big family. The Scripture reveals this Son to be Jesus, who was in the “bosom of the Father” from before the world began (John 1:18; 17:24). For the Son was always with the Father and in the Father.
But like any good father, He knew it was not good for His Son to be alone. God is love and love must be expressed and shared. But this Son needed a suitable counterpart–a bride, a wife–to whom He could express His passionate, unending love and be with forever.
And this was the Father’s plan, His “good pleasure,” before creation (Eph.1:3-5). He would have a bride for His Son and they would be a family forever.
But how was this Father going to find a compatible mate for His Son outside of Himself? Outside of this Divine Tri-unity? For this companion would have to come from His creation.
The Divine Son would become us so that we could become an appropriate match for Him. Voila!
But this is where it gets a little crazy. You’re going to have to stop thinking like a linear, one-dimensional Westerner for a moment… 🙂
The Father “begot” (“fathered, brought forth”) His eternal and uncreated Son (John 1:14, 18; Heb.1:5) so that, like with Eve who was a type and shadow of a greater purpose, He could form the “woman,” His wife, from the Son on the eighth day, the first day of the week (Matt.28:1). For this “woman” was raised to “newness of life” with the Son (Rom.6:4).
And, like Eve, this woman would not be created but “taken from the Man” (Gen.2:23). This woman is the new creation–the Church–the bride of Christ!
So when we look at the biblical narrative, we must see a long history of types and shadows, parables, love songs, marriages–all declaring and foreshadowing the Father’s intention to prepare a bride for His Son. The Bible begins and ends with a marriage. Jesus’ ministry began at a wedding. Do you see the pattern yet?
And if the Bible could be described in any literary genre it would definitely be romance. Everything else is trivial detail by comparison. Indeed, it’s the greatest, most passionate romance story ever told, by which all other romance novels are measured and find their true source.
We may not understand this theologically or intellectually but we know it in our deepest of hearts. After all, we were wired for it. We can know no other.
Finally, we see the Holy Spirit, who functions relationally much like a mother in this family (no, you didn’t hear me say that the Holy Spirit is the Mother of God!). For He nurtures, teaches, guides, helps and lovingly corrects God’s children in order that they may be shaped and fashioned into Christ (Eph.2:21; 4:15), while filling this house with the warmth of the Father’s love.
The Holy Spirit relationally brings about this holy communion with us and within the Godhead (2 Cor.13:14).
So, we have a Father who has a growing family filled with all the fullness of His love; the Son who has a devoted wife who is the object of His unfathomable affections; and the Holy Spirit who nurtures, fills and makes this house a home.
This is the family of God that extends from heaven to earth. This “space” is where heaven meets earth–this is the glorious Church. Paul called this the “fellowship of the mystery…”
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph.3:8-11 NKJV)
This is the house that God built, the “place of His rest.”
Beloved, this is YOU! This is the family of God. As Paul prayed, may we have our spiritually sleepy eyes opened to this glorious reality. For there is no other.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”