Chapter 14: A Brand New Family Tree

In the previous chapter we focused on the glorious truth that assures us that we died with Him and that we are now alive in Him.

This is an incredible thought. Yet our journey into this mind-boggling truth does not end here for, as far as God is concerned, he wants us to consider not only that we died in Him, and that we now live in Him, but that we have now been born into a brand new family tree.
To explain: Every one of us has been born into a biological family tree. This family tree starts with Adam, the son of God, and it will end, eternally, and for all, when Jesus comes the second time. If not for Jesus, our Saviour and Substitute, that would be the final curtain for the people of planet earth. Yet, thanks only to Him, and to the simple yet mystical matter of faith, life can be infinitely more than the short span of years that are bracketed between our birth and our burial.
In that very moment when faith flickers to life, we are adopted into a new family tree, a spiritual family tree - one that spans eternity in the past and that is destined to span eternity in the future.
Through faith . . .'the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repenting, believing sinner [and] he becomes a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King.' (1SM215)
'By virtue of His [Jesus'] merits He gives [us] power to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king.' (8T177)
What an awesome thought. Who would ever imagine that, 'by virtue of His merits,' sinful beings could be adopted into the royal family of God and that, as such, Jesus becomes the brother of sinners? And what a faithful and compassionate elder brother He is - one who, according to Paul, will never turn His back on us.
'Both the one who makes men holy [Jesus] and those who are made holy [us] are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.' (Hebrews 2:11)
This is why all heaven rejoices when faith comes to life, for it is in that moment, while the life of the new believer is still riddled with weaknesses, that a new member is added to the family of God.
"Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are received by his Substitute and Surety. The Lord speaks to His heavenly Father, saying, 'This is my child. I reprieve him from the condemnation of death, giving him My life insurance policy - eternal life - because I have taken his place and suffered for his sins. He is even My beloved son.' Thus man, pardoned, and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ's righteousness, stands faultless before God." (6BC1070)
Once again we notice that the moment we place our faith in God's Son, we are accepted as members of the royal line, considered as though we had never sinned, declared to be faultless - and all this is 'not because of an inherent goodness,' but only because . . .
'God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under [the curse of the] law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.' (Galatians 4:4,5)
Yes, we receive 'the full rights of sons,' not because of anything we do, or because of anything we are, but only because . . .
'He chose us in Him before the creation of the world [and] He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ.' (Ephesians 1:4; 6)
What a thought for our meditation! Before creation, God chose the entire human race to be adopted by faith into the royal blood line. Sadly, though all were chosen, not all will choose or have chosen to accept the gift. Nevertheless, how grateful we should be knowing that God gave His Son to become sin for sinners, so that sinners might become the sons of God.
'God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.' (2 Corinthians 5:21)
'Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God's people and members of God's household.' (Ephesians 2:19)
The line of our spiritual family is recorded in Matthew 1:1-16 - the lineage of Joseph. The line of our biological family is recorded in Luke chapter 3 - the lineage of Mary. A careful comparison of these two family trees is beyond the bounds of this book, but such a comparison is guaranteed to make for interesting study.
In Matthew 1:2 we are given the first account of this adoption process.
'Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations.' (Romans 4:18)
Abraham was a child of the promise; Jesus is the subject of the promise. The substance of the promise is that Jesus would take the place of humanity on the cross and be rejected in the person of us, so that we could be accepted in the person of Him.
'His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two [Himself and humanity], thus making peace, and in this one body, to reconcile both of them [Jews and Gentiles] to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.' (Ephesians 2:15,16)
And so it is that all who accept Jesus by faith become, as it were, a part of Him - and so we become joined together in one body.
'[We] are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:28)
'We, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.' (Romans 12:5)
Thus it is that Jesus has wiped away all divisions on the basis of colour, creed, race or social standing, or of any other human distinction, for in Him we all, that is, believers and unbelievers, were nailed to the cross together. Therefore . . .
'[Let us]] never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to [us], and [us] to the world.' (Galatians 6:14)
What peace would overcome the world if all could appreciate that, as far as the law of God is concerned, we all were nailed to the cross in Christ Jesus.
Nevertheless, as members of the body of the Son of God, we are sons of God, and we belong to Him, and . . .
'If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.' (Galatians 3:29)
We can appreciate, therefore, that our adoption into the spiritual family is strictly a spiritual exercise. Faith must first have a hold on the life before we become members of this family, for only . . .
'Those who believe are children of Abraham.' (Galatians 3:7)
'It is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.' (Romans 9:8)
Therefore . . .
'If we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.' (Romans 8:17)
Thus it is faith, and faith alone, that plucks us out of our biological family tree and that transplants us into our spiritual family tree. This is the family tree of absolute hope. How important therefore that our 'faith' is true faith. How important that we understand that we become heirs of God, not because of anything that we do, but only through faith, for . . .
'It was not through the [keeping of the] law that Abraham and His offspring received the promise that He would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless.' (Romans 4:13,14)
As believers, and more specifically, as believers who appreciate the worthlessness of their own works, we do not therefore look forward to becoming the sons and daughters of God. Rather, we rejoice in the fact that we are the sons and daughters of God.
'How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.' (1 John 3:1)
'What love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God and adopted into His family!' (5T 739)
And, wonderful thought, we may feel eternally secure as members of this illustrious family, for Jesus has promised . . .
'I will not leave you as orphans.' (John 14:18)
Without faith, we are nothing other than spiritual orphans, yet the moment that we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Substitute, and we accept His righteousness as the only righteousness that has eternal value, in that moment . . .
'We become heirs, having the hope of eternal life.' (Titus 3:7)
And here too, we do not look forward to eternal life as something that is yet to begin - our eternal life has already begun because we are alive 'in Christ' - who is the Eternal One. This is why Jesus was able to say . . .
'He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.' (John 11:25)
Our body of flesh may die, but we, as members of the body of Christ will never die - even though the flesh should die.
'Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave, not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us: and the Sprit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of life eternal.' (DA388)
Therefore, as children of the heavenly King, as beings for whom eternal life has already begun; as those who are dead but who are alive in Jesus; and as those who stand faultless before the throne of God "in Him," we have nothing to fear, for soon . . .
'He will come to honour those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a re-linking of the family chain.' (DA632)
'Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.' (Isaiah 45:24, 25, KJV)
'Oh, the depth of the riches of the love of God that hath abounded to man in the person of his Son! God in Christ, and Christ in God, and Christ abiding by faith in man, is so large a truth that the mind cannot fully comprehend it. It is so great a theme, so grand a conception, so far beyond the power of reason to explain, that, as we speak of it, we feel our insufficiency. Our comprehension is too restricted, our language too limited, to unfold this great truth. The mind fails and sinks down weary under the effort, and we can speak of this truth only in softened, subdued tones, acknowledging our helplessness, and bowing in adoration before the infinite Love that has provided so great a salvation.' (ST 05-18-91.4)

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