Glenn preached on Sunday about God’s impossible family. Impossible is the right word!
We live in a world of hurt. A world of brokenness. A world of hate. Where there are different races in a nation, there is racial division. Pride. Wounds. Hate. Segregation. Where there are different tribes there are histories of genocide. Histories of favouritism. Histories of oppression. Where there is difference – in schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods – there is bullying, gossip and ostracism.
There is no bridging the divides. Many have tried, but could not sustain it. Many are trying, but not succeeding. Many will try, but shall fail. No person can successfully bridge such deep divides by their own strength. It’s like a little brick bridge trying to stand before a tidal wave. Or a little wooden one gently being lapped at day after day until it rots and decays away.
No, we can’t bridge the divide. But God can.
First, He bridged the divide that separated man from God because of sin:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:13-16)
Then, He bridged the gap between people. By doing so, He has created an improbable people, an impossible family. Not content to only heal us of our sins and brokenness, He binds us together as family, of which He is the first.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
How? How does God build His impossible family that bridges racial, cultural, tribal, and personal differences?
1) Through His love
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:11-14)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10)
& 2) Through the work of His Spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)
Are you part of God’s impossible family? Let Him heal your hurt and teach you a love that overcomes offence, hatred, and differences. Be part of His conquering love that crosses raging rivers, bridges gaping ravines and scales mighty walls.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)