What Does Being In God’s Family Mean for Earthly Families?

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My brother believes that you needn’t acknowl­edge your earthly family, since we are all in the body of Christ. I know Jesus said that those who do God’s will are His family, but I’m not con­vinced that He no longer recognized His physical family. I seek an answer to something that has torn my family apart. 

It is true that the bonds among God’s family are stronger and longer than any other ties, but this is not the same as saying that Christians no longer owe their earthly families true loyalty.

God instituted families in the beginning, before sin came to human experience (Gen. 2:18-25). Jesus hon­ored His earthly father and mother and taught His disci­ples to do the same (Luke 2:51; Mark 7:9-13). Apostle Paul urged us to obey that fifth commandment  (Eph. 6:1-3).

Consider comparisons: The seventh-day Sabbath symbolizes the greater spiritual rest we have in Christ, but we still need a day of physical rest too. Likewise, marriage reflects the union of Christ and the church, but that doesn’t mean Christians need no longer marry. This is true for all family relation­ships. They remain our privilege and duty until replaced by the reality of God’s eternal Kingdom.

There are a hundred more good reasons why we need our earthly families and care for them with high regard. If we do not, says I Timothy 5:8, we are worse than an unbeliever. May your family’s pain be relieved by the truth of these issues.

— Elder Calvin Burrell

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    Calvin Burrell
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    Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and former director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.