Baptized into one family
Sniff sniff. :’) Today our church family had the opportunity to send one of our own into the marriage sunset. Errrr sunrise. Weddings are great times to discuss the bringing together of two separate entities into one family. In today’s case, we saw the union of different cultures with different backgrounds, drawn together with the same desire to serve Jesus through their marriage. As one toast put it, “I never thought that two of my friends, from different parts of my life, would come together as they have on this day” [paraphrased]. And boy, some of us older folk were proud to welcome yet another new couple into the marriage club.
Last week we discussed what it means to be in the family of God, but carrying on with our wedding theme, we decided to share what it means to come in to the family of God. Galatians 3:26-29 says:
26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
Let’s break this down!
First, it is by Jesus (and only Jesus) that we can become sons of God. And it is done through faith. There is no other entity by which you can directly access Heaven’s gates. It is through Jesus’ sacrifice that we can carry a family-like connection to God.
Next, the theme of through Jesus carries on as those that have been baptized are baptized into Christ. We began with God, and now work our way down to you. Through baptism we join the family of God through Jesus Christ. Note that being baptized into Christ also means putting on Christ (i.e. His character, principles, example, etc).
Baptism into Christ means that your existing identity melts away and you take on a new identity, one rooted in the unchanging Jesus. This does not mean that your background, culture, or past experiences do not matter. But they become less relevant in light of the greater identity of Jesus. Just like in a wedding, two becomes one, so in the family of God many becomes one. IN JESUS! At the time of the writing there was still quite the division among people in the church (yes, culture/race played a big role back then as well). Paul is telling the Galatians that when we are baptized into Jesus, it becomes less of “we” and more of “He.”
As a result, being a part of Jesus means that we are the heirs to Abraham’s offspring. This may sound weird. What does a dead man have to do with any of this? Back them it was a big deal for the Pharisees to boast about how their family lineage biologically traced back to Abraham. Abraham, the man that Heaven chose to go by on Earth (i.e. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Abraham, the man through whom the Messiah would come, and whose family was blessed by God Himself. The Pharisees prided themselves on this direct lineage. However, with the arrival of Jesus, the promises made to Abraham were not reserved to his biological descendants. Heaven does not follow earthly customs. Today, if you were a descendant of someone rich like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, you could expect a sizable inheritance (perhaps?) when the time came. No direct relation would net any extra commas in your bank account. However, in the family of God, when you join through baptism you also become an heir to the wealth of promises that God made to Abraham. Why? Because your direct relation to the inheritance is now through Jesus.
We cannot choose what family we are biologically born into. If that was the case, some of us may choose the more stable homes or ones with a wealthy bank account. However, we have that luxury if we choose to join the family of God! As the Bible says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give to those who ask!” God wants to give so many things. He desires to unlock Heaven’s storehouses and pour out blessings! Joining the family of God is a beautiful phenomenon.
There’s a wedding coming, that will signal the end of the Great Controversy. The bridegroom will arrive to take His bride (us, His family) to be with Him where He lives. But it is only through Jesus. You know, the one who died for your sins. The one who wants to spend eternity with you.
To be a part of the family of God, you must choose to join. What will you choose?