The good news of the gospel is that God has a family, and we are invited to become part of it. When we put our faith in Jesus, we are adopted by the Father and become his children. Ephesians 1:4 says, “In love, he [the Father] predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace…” How can we understand what it means to be welcomed as sons of a loving father if we don’t know anything about family?
I’ve put together a little mini-series on family, and have shown first that God created family and second that God created family as a means of carrying out his will. In today’s article I want to show that God also created family to picture his truth.
Here is what I mean: God uses family as a means of providing pictures that can teach crucial truths to humanity. There are things we cannot easily understand if we do not understand family. On the other hand, there are things we are well on our way to understanding when we understand family. When God wants to teach us certain truths, he essentially says, “picture a father and a son, or picture a wife and a husband, or picture a brother and sister.” Because he made these family relationships to be universal, he can use them as pictures in every context and in every age. He begins with what we know, then uses that knowledge as a bridge to what we don’t know.
So if we understand family, we have language and concepts that help us understand certain truths about God and his works and his ways. But if we lose family, or redefine it, we begin to lose that language and lose those concepts.
Let me give you four important pictures God uses that depend upon family.
Family Pictures the Trinity
First, family pictures the Trinity. If you don’t understand family, you can’t understand God himself. Why? Because God reveals the first person of the Trinity as God the Father and the second person of the Trinity as God the Son. Of course this Father-Son relationship is not identical to our father-son relationships, but it does help us understand that they relate and interact as Father and Son.