Abiding is a Family Endeavor

Jesus' familyOne cannot abide alone. That was Adam’s problem in the Garden. Even in the blissful, pre-sin world that he inhabited, God said, “It’s not good to be alone.”

So what did God do? Gave him a wife. Adam and Eve would only image God as a family.

God created humans to be in community, just like himself.

Sin, a new kind of isolation

When our first parents sinned, a peculiar and awful thing happened. The harmonious union between Creator and creature was disrupted. The unique imagery played out in human relationships was skewed.

No longer would there be security in unity. Instead of trusting them to be considerate, wives would have to manipulate their husbands to do things for them. Instead of leading humbly, husbands would feel the need to rule with a clenched fist over their wives. After the humanity’s fall, it became a mad rush to control the relationship.

And in a way, that is far more isolating than actually being alone.

Sin taunts us with being in close proximity with someone while unable to experience that old, sweet union.

Community FAIL

Churches, social clubs, and friendships have been striving for union ever since. Some have gotten closer to the goal than others, while most fail miserably as someone always needs to dominate the relationship.

We’ve tried a lot of methods. Clubs form around shared affinities. Churches around shared doctrinal subscriptions. Neither compare to what used to be. Such attempts at community is what we’ll call association. Association is different than abiding.

A new family

The gospel is specifically aimed at demolishing the power of sin to isolate us. The result of the gospel is a community whose bond is not an association around a shared affinity; rather, a bond that is grace- and acceptance-based. It’s robust, forbearing. We call that kind of community family.

The family of God is the unique result of the gospel. One certainly can’t abide in Christ without it (here’s a post that describes why family is the best paradigm to understand abiding here). Our salvation is not a matter of a “personal relationship” with God. Rather, our salvation is a familial relationship with God, together with our new brothers and sisters.

Are you in community? I mean, really in it? Does your community know your joys and sins, wife and kids, needs and gifts, quirks and dreams? Of course, it’s not all about you. Do you know your brothers and sisters in the family of God? Abiding is a family endeavor, after all. Ask Adam.

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