Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 2:11)
Each of us has a unique experience growing up in our families or origin. Most of us are from different families and even siblings who grow up in the same family have different experiences because of birth order, personality, gender and other factors. Our family-of-origin may have been encouraging and supportive or it may have been traumatic and abusive, or somewhere in between. Whatever our experience was, we tend to measure the meaning of the word “family” by our own family-of-origin experience.
This passage tells us that we are now part of God’s family through Jesus. In some respects, God’s family is like our own family-of-origin. We didn’t choose our family, our parents, or our siblings. We were born into our family. Also, the defining characteristics of our family are what they are. Being a Smith or a Jones, or whatever our surname is, was established long before we arrived, and we carry our family identity with us wherever we go.
So it is with God’s family. We became part of God’s family as a total act of grace by our heavenly Father. Because he loves us, he sent his Son, Jesus, to suffer and taste death for everyone so that we, through faith, would be made holy and be brought to glory.
But what is different about God’s family from our family-of-origin is that, for many of us, our family-of-origin experience was a law experience where we often felt like we never measured up to the ideal held before us. So we continually strive to measure up and we bring that striving into our life as an adult.
Therefore we struggle to fully comprehend that God’s family is a family of total grace. Because of Jesus, the life we are living right now, with all of our personal struggles and brokenness and sin, is the ideal for a follower of Jesus. We are totally dependent on Jesus and we rely on him moment by moment for the grace that we need to carry on. That is exactly as it should be. And your life and mine, just as it is, has been made holy because of Jesus’ presence in us and we are living in his glory, right now, through our relationship with him.
All this is hidden from every other human being—and sometimes it is also hidden from us too—but it is nevertheless true. You are part of the family of God, along with your brother Jesus, and billions and sisters and brothers in Christ who also have brokenness, sin and struggles in their lives, and grace is the defining characteristic of our new family. And it is all because of Jesus.
Dear sister or brother in Christ, you are in the family of God. Jesus is your brother, his Father is your Father and the same Holy Spirit that enlivened, encouraged and strengthened Jesus, now moves through you and all of the rest of God’s family. Remember who you are.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help me to always remember that you have made me part of the family of God. Dear Holy Spirit, help me to live in the grace my Father gives me through my brother Jesus. Amen.