The Family Of God
When the Lord called Abram out of the land of Ur, He purposed to create the Abrahamic family as the chosen people that would receive His Law and bring forth the Seed that would be Christ. The Jews came from one father. They were brethren for thousands of generations and keeping up with their genealogy was vital to their identity. Each Jew could trace their lineage through the sons of Jacob back to their father, Abraham. The Bible is filled with genealogies establishing the ancestral dynasty of the nation of Israel ultimately proving that Jesus was the Christ, the promised son of Abraham. In God’s final message before the famine of revelation, Malachi reminds the people they share the lineage of one Father and one God.
The God that delivered the people from Egyptian bondage was the same Father every Jew shared in the Law. As the family of God, each Israelite was a son or daughter of the heavenly Father. While sibling rivalry is a common trait in earthly families, the spiritual family of God should rise about the problems between one another. When members of the family of God abuse their fellow brethren, they cause anguish to the Father. In Malachi’s day, the actions of the people of Israel were bringing the displeasure of the heavenly Father. This lesson is still true for the family of God found in the church.
Jesus taught His disciples forgiveness from the Father can only come if we are willing to forgive one another. The apostle John wrote in his first epistle that love for God motivates love for one another. Hating a brother cannot abide in the love of the Father. Malachi’s question should always be at the forefront of the way we treat one another and deal with problems in the church. As Christians, we all share one Father. The one God, who is the Lord Almighty, formed us. It is incredulous that we would fight with a person we share a spiritual DNA and were baptized in the same blood. What is our Father going to think of this? We bite and devour one another bringing shame to the family of the Lord.
The people of God should be united under the same flag of obedience to the one Father. Abram reminded Lot, “We are brethren.” Fighting and fussing among the people of God should not be heard. Churches filled with infighting destroy the fabric of the spiritual family and bring great displeasure to the Father. The person we are envying is our brother. A sister who has jealousy does so at the same risk of wrath from the same Father. In the body of Christ, we all share one Father. If we would ever get that in our mind it would change the way we treat one another.
When we fight here below as brothers and sisters in the family of the Lord, what makes us think there will be any happiness in eternal life when we stand before the same Father? The judgment day will sort out all sibling rivalry among the people of God. If we do not correct our behavior now there may not be a life with the Father in the hereafter. Why would God want to let a bunch of squabbling, fusing, fighting and arguing brethren into His house? The answer is that He will not. Malachi’s burden should be a warning and a reminder. Remember we have one Father. Live in the knowledge we have one God. Your eternal reward may depend on it.
It is not by driving away our brother that we can be alone with God. (George Macdonald, Alec Forbes, Vol. 2, 1865)