God has one solution to the pain and suffering in this world: to raise up healthy families who will extend His heavenly family throughout the whole earth. We live in a world where the wounds of spiritual orphan-hood have impacted every soul. The good news is that, in His family, every spiritual orphan and every broken heart can encounter our heavenly Father and find a home with Him. This is the heartbeat of heaven and the overarching purpose of God: that the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. To fulfill this amazing purpose, God has a threefold strategy: creation, redemption and restoration.
To accomplish each of these strategies, God has created one methodology: FAMILY. Let’s look at each strategy individually and see how the key to fulfillment is found in family.
God’s Strategy in Creation
God created the earth for a purpose, to birth a people who were made in His image to display His glory throughout the universe. God created us for both relationship and partnership. He wanted to know us and be known by us—that is the relationship part. At the same time God is a Creator. With God it’s impossible to have a relationship without also having a partnership. When God gave Adam and Eve the command to “be fruitful,” He was setting in motion His plan to rule the planet through a partnership with those who were made in His image.
In addition to the desire to bond with a spouse and produce children, He also put in our hearts a deep love and passion for our offspring, so we would treasure our young and care for them unconditionally. Then He placed within us an urge to see our children exceed and surpass us, and that impulse translates into a desire to impart identity, community, maturity, responsibility, and destiny. That impartation typically takes place over the course of eighteen years, and in a healthy family, it can continue for the rest of the child’s life in some form or fashion. Family was created as God’s perfect method for fulfilling His purposes on earth.
God’s Strategy in Redemption
Unfortunately sin entered the world and damaged the family in a massive way. God’s intended method for “filling and subduing the earth” became a source of brokenness and sin throughout the generations. Although family continued to function biologically, it developed and propagated huge spiritual problems that touched every nation, tribe and tongue. However, God was not helpless, but He set in motion a redemptive plan that still used His strategy of family, despite humanity’s brokenness and shortcomings.
When He called Abraham and Sarah to leave their home and journey to a new land, He promised they would raise up a family and that through their seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. They could not possibly have known the extent to which their “SEED” would remove the power and penalty of sin and restore God’s good purpose to the earth. But surprisingly, in spite of God’s specific promise, Abraham and Sarah were unable to conceive a child. They waited over twenty-five years, long past their natural childbearing age—until Sarah finally became pregnant and Isaac was born. Isaac and his wife, Rebecca, later gave birth to Jacob, and Jacob became the father of twelve sons, who in turn produced twelve tribes, and those twelve tribes ultimately became the nation of Israel, God’s own people.
However, God’s purpose wasn’t merely to have a nation He could call His own. His purpose was the redemption of all humankind. Over the next two thousand years, He raised up a people who would be shaped through the Law and the Prophets to be a nation through whom He Himself would be born in human form—in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And through Jesus all the nations of the earth are now blessed. God’s solution to the damages of sin was to raise up a family that would ultimately give birth to the Redeemer. Family is God’s methodology, not only in creation but also in redemption.
God’s Strategy in Restoration
The story doesn’t end there, because Jesus did not come merely to redeem us from the power of sin. He also came to restore us to God’s original intention in creation. Restoration is the third area in which God uses the methodology of family. When Jesus began His ministry, He gathered twelve men and a group of women (Luke 8–9), and began to pour His life into them. They were His spiritual sons and daughters. He extended His family to seventy others, and that number continued to grow (Luke 10).
After He accomplished His death on the cross, He told His sons and daughters to go forth and fulfill the Great Commission—an amazing statement that reiterates the command given at creation, as well as the command given to Abraham and Sarah. He instructed His disciples to “Go and make disciples,” or spiritual sons and daughters. We are commanded to raise these sons and daughters up by teaching them to do everything He commanded us, including the commission itself: to go forth and make new sons and daughters.
God’s strategy for restoring the earth to His intended purpose is to raise sons and daughters into spiritual mothers and fathers, who will give birth to new spiritual sons and daughters through the declaration and demonstration of the gospel. These new spiritual babies will be loved, cared for, trained, and developed, and eventually they will mature into spiritual adults, who will then give birth to new spiritual sons and daughters—until the knowledge of the glory of God fills the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14).