Families can be complicated. Sure, we love them, but sometimes we can't stand to be in the same room as them (thanks for ruining Thanksgiving again, Uncle Ernie). But in the end, is there anything you wouldn't do for your nearest and dearest relatives? The elder certainly seems to think so.
The image of "God the Father" and "Christ the Son" is nothing new when it comes to the New Testament. But the elder keeps playing with this idea of a family relationship between the Almighty and his people by calling Christians "children of God."
- "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." (1 John 3:1)
- "We are God's children now." (1 John 3:2)
- "The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way…" (1 John 3:10)
- "We know that we are God's children." (1 John 5:19)
This is basically just another warm, fuzzy way to describe God. He's like a dad—the guy that cares for you, supports you, guides you, and loves you your whole life. Plus, you also need to listen to what he tells you. Don't talk to antichrists? Love one another? Father knows best!
The elder also sneakily sets himself up as a father figure a couple times:
- "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin." (1 John 2:1)
- "I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 1:4)
Sure, God's a dad to everyone, but the elder has some fatherly authority here, too. And it's actually a pretty helpful tool for getting people to listen. Why should anyone do what the elder says? Why does he get to boss everyone around? Because he's the dad around here.
Now go to your rooms, young Christians!
Siblings in Christ
If God is dad to everyone who believes in him, that means Christians are all brothers and sisters, right? (Oddly enough, these brothers and sisters can still get married in every state.)
- "Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light." (1 John 2:10)
- "Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you." (1 John 3:13)
- "How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?" (1 John 3:17)
- "Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also." (1 John 4:21)
The elder tends to bring out this imagery when he's talking about getting along. Basically, if you love a brother or sister, then you're living the kind of life God wants you to. If not? Then you're grounded.
Just like real-life siblings, Christians are kind of thrown together without much say. You can't pick your family or your church family, apparently. The elder knows sibling rivalry can be tough, but he really needs everyone to get along if they're all gonna make it to Heaven together.
So behave, or so help him, he will turn this church around right now.