Christians and family
As previously discussed the family is the basis (core) of human unity. In the present age Christians are members of earthly families (in Adam’s flesh) and the family of God (in Christ’s spirit). Even though unity in Adam’s flesh is broken Christians are first and foremost responsible for the care of their earthly families. This is a reflection of the restored unity they have with God in Christ. This is why it can be said:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)

In the present age Christians have a greater level of responsibility for members of their own family, especially members of their household (incl. servants, blood and non-blood relatives) than for others. This does not mean Christians are not responsible for other Christians or their unbelieving neighbours. Rather on a daily basis they are most responsible for the welfare and care of their own family/household. By looking after the members of their earthly family/household a Christian will demonstrate their faithfulness to the renewed unity they have with God in Christ. Just as Christ is faithful over God’s house.

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house was a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
(Hebrews 3:1-6 ESV)

The family of God
As previously discussed right relating within family (unity) is dictated by a person’s position in the family and who they are relating to. This is true of the family of God.

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
(1 Timothy 5:1-3 ESV)

A Christian should never seek status and position in the church if they have not first seen to their own family. Both men and women should look after their own families first and only widows who are old enough and have proven themselves as good mothers should be given responsibility in the family of God.

Young women should be taught to look after their families first. Only once they have proven themselves, discharging their responsiblity to their own households and serving the church in (seemingly) small ways (eg, hospitality and washing feet), should they be enrolled for further service.

Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

(1 Timothy 5:3-25 ESV)

This command applies to men too, if a man wishes to lead the family of God he must first prove that he is capable of leading his own family (1 Timothy 3:4-5). Young men should be trained to look after their own families and serve the church in small ways first before they are given a position of leadership in the Church. Furthermore it is only the elder that has proven his effectiveness and faithfulness that should be given the added honour of being paid for his work (especially if he is a teacher).

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
(1 Timothy 5:17-23 ESV)

The Bible has a very long-term view of unity, faithfulness, service and the appointment of leaders. This is why Christians need to be committed to family and Church long-term. Therefore to be faithful to God means looking after your family well and seeking to serve the church in some small way. Remembering that all deeds, both good and bad, will be exposed on the last day before the judgement of God.

The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
(1 Timothy 5:24-25 ESV)


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