by Paul Tautges | February 3, 2020 6:12 am
The family of God is the only family that will last forever. For this reason, the Scriptures exhort us to do good to the household of faith. The “household of faith” is a phrase that is used in the Bible to refer to the spiritual family of Jesus Christ; that is, those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit to be new creations in Christ. The new birth and God’s adoption immediately places a person into the family of God, as a brother or sister in Christ—as a member of the household of the faith.
In Christ, we find an acceptance and love that surpasses anything that an earthly family can provide—more, in fact, than an earthly family was created to provide. The dysfunction in every marriage and family point to something infinitely more fulfilling: the perfect marriage of Jesus to his bride, the church, and God’s family of believers that will endure for eternity. Jesus himself testifies of the family that the heavenly Father is giving to Him as a reward for the work that He accomplished to purchase our salvation. Jesus reigns, though we do not yet see it with our physical eyes (Heb. 2:8-13). This is in keeping with the prophecy of Isaiah 53:10-11.
Additionally, the term “the household of God” is applied even more personally than the universal church (all those who trust in Christ, worldwide), to local congregations. This is why when we read NT letters, we find that most of them are written to local churches and are filled with familial words like brothers, sisters, and brotherhood.
Here in Galatians, Paul exhorts us to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit has knit us together into a spiritual family whose goal to glorify God by loving one another and becoming like Christ.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.Gal. 6:6-10
In keeping with this, there are three admonitions that God wants you to respond to.
According to Scripture, spiritual teachers are to be supported by those who are taught. Though some churches do not believe in having vocational pastors, Scripture presents this as the norm. In some cases, as it sometimes was with Paul, a man is able to support himself and his family through other means of employment. In that case, he is free to receive or not receive compensation for his ministry as a pastor (1 Cor. 9:4-11). The basic principle stated in verse 6 is not a new one. Jesus also taught this, as Paul says, “So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” Ultimately, it’s not about the teacher, though. It’s about the health of the household of faith, as the next verse indicates.
Verse 7, since it follows verse 6, clearly indicates that the first application concerns Christian giving. If your giving to the church is a low priority, evidenced by your checkbook ledger or the budget app on your phone, then don’t be surprised when your harvest of spiritual riches is meager. It is possible to have much in terms of earthly riches, and yet have a spiritual pantry that is quite bare. Paul makes this connection in 2 Cor. 9:6-8), when he lifts up the example of the Macedonian believers who gave generously, even though they were not wealthy from an earthly standpoint.
But verse 8 takes the application further, into all areas of the Christian life. “If you sow to the flesh…” you will reap only what the flesh brings. However, there is a good and righteous way to sow seed. Verse 8 continues: “the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” If you walk by the Spirit, you will reap the Christlike character (the fruit of the Spirit) described in the previous chapter. These are the blessings that accompany eternal life. Blessings in this life, which are beyond compare.
The Law of the Harvest is quite simple: you will reap what you sow. Just as a farmer gets corn if he sows kernels of corn, or sunflowers, if that’s what he planted, if you sow to your flesh then you will reap only that which is temporal. But if you sow spiritual priorities, leaving your reward in the Lord’s hands, then you will reap what lasts for eternity.
I like what the ESV Study Bible says about this verse:
The primary focus should be on serving those in the church, but never to the exclusion of people in the wider world. As Jesus made clear (e.g., Matt. 6:33), the Christian’s primary allegiance is to the kingdom of God, with God as our heavenly Father (Matt. 6:9, 32, 12:50; cf. Matt. 8:21-22), rather than to friends, the workplace, school, sports, or to anything else, even earthly families.
We’ve all heard the popular phrase, “Family is everything.” But if this refers to one’s blood relatives then Scripture challenges it. Instead, Jesus and the apostle Paul say “the family of God is everything.” Many believers testify to this reality. In the church, among others who love the Lord, you find love, acceptance, and caring like nothing you’ve experienced before.
Scripture affirms that the bond we have together as brothers and sisters in Christ is actually stronger than the bond we have with our biological or adoptive families. This bond, in contrast to earthly connections, will last for all eternity. The connection we have in Christ, as members of the family of God, is not based upon temporary factors like DNA testing or adoption papers. It is based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ. One day, all of the redeemed stretching backward to the Old Testament believers, and forward to the end of the age, will gather as one family in Christ (Rev. 7:9-12).
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