Do you see it?When we enter into the New Covenant with and through Jesus Christ we enter into a sacred and binding relationship with all other true believers. Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc. are all covenant brothers and sisters! What an intense thought!
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NASB)
Do we grasp the implications of this reality? Stop and think about it—we are a huge family! I don’t think we give the family of God enough weight in our day to day lives.
Most of us are familiar with the story of the rich young ruler as found in Mark 10. I believe that the last passage (verses 28-30) of the story is one of the most misquoted of the entire New Testament.
“Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.’”
More than once I’ve heard a preacher say that whatever we give to God will be given back to us multiplied one hundred-fold. In other words, if I put $100 in the offering plate, I can expect $10,000 to come my way. While I am certainly not opposed to receiving this type of hundred-fold return, such a perspective misses the primary context of what Jesus was saying.
How do we know? Jesus included family members! This isn’t a give to get passage. I believe that the scope of this entire passage speaks of the New Covenant family of God. No matter what price we pay for the sake of God’s kingdom, it will be multiplied back to us through the relationships and resources of the Body of Christ. I am passionate about the importance of earthly families, but cannot deny that the family of God is of a higher and more permanent order than anything earthly.
Has your love for God cost you material possessions, friendships or even family relationships? God knows and understands your sacrifice, and so He has ordained the New Covenant family of God to meet and surpass your needs. Through the Body of Christ He has so much more for each of us than we could ever imagine.
This is not an unconditional promise, however. We play a part in submitting our lives to God and deliberately connecting with a healthy local church. A church isn’t a building or even just an organization. A church is a local expression of the New Covenant family of God. This shouldn’t hinder us from building relationships with Christians in other churches, but being intimately connected with a local fellowship of believers needs to be our starting point.
Is there a price to pay for getting involved? Absolutely! The rich young ruler wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice to join Jesus and the disciples, and so he missed not only his treasure in heaven, but a richer earthly existence as well. I know that changes are needed in the church today, but the potential continues to be HUGE—at least a hundred-fold!