Series: Growing with the Lord

Action File

On Being a Family

God designed marriage and the family to work. Family life is a picture of the quality of relationship God desires with each of us (2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 4:6).

"'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church" Ephesians 5:31-32.

God created the family to be the place where people would grow to understand God as their loving Father. He desires "godly offspring" - children who will be like Him (Malachi 2:15).

The Model of Family Life

"...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us..." John 17:21.

The Biblical model of family life is exactly the same as the model of church life (Philippians 2:1-8; Colossians 3:12-16; 1 Peter 3:8-9). It is based on the depth of love found in God Himself. The selfless unity of the triune God is given as a picture of the quality of relationship that God has planned within family life. The life of the family flows from God the Father (Ephesians 3:14-15).

When Adam sinned, however, God's plan for marriage was marred. Instead of family life being an expression of selfless love, family life became an expression of self-centredness.

The Cycle of Selfishness

After their fall, God told Adam and Eve the sad consequences of their sin. For Eve it would be:

"...your husband... will rule over you" Genesis 3:16.

Through the fall of Adam, mankind brought upon itself a vicious cycle. Love was replaced by self-centredness.

  • The husband "rules" his wife in a spirit of tyranny
  • The wife responds with a spirit of independence
  • The children react with rebellion


This cycle of selfishness feeds on itself. The more the wife reacts with independence and the children with rebellion, the more the husband responds with tyranny. This cycle of self-destruction is part of the curse of sin (read Genesis 3:16-19). The end result of this selfish lifestyle is every kind of family problem and broken relationship (2 Timothy 3:2-5).

The wonderful good news of the Gospel, however, is that this curse upon the family has been borken at the Cross!

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree'" Galations 3:13 (see also verse 10; Proverbs 3:33).

The Cycle of Love

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" Ephesians 5:22,25; 6:1 (read also 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Peter 3:7).

The foundation of family life is love. This love is expressed in different ways by different members of the family.

  • The husband's expression of love is laying down his life.
  • The wife's expression of love is submitting.
  • The children's expression of love is obeying.

The cycle of selfishness is based upon my demands and my needs. The cycle of love, however, is based upon selfless giving to others in the family. When a family is expressing God's kind of love, everyone's needs will be met.

He Puts the Solitary in Families

A great challenge to the Church is to embrace those without a family and, in effect, adopt them. Every person should be part of a family.

"He sets the solitary in families" Psalm 68:6 (KJV).
"He gives families to the lonely" (Living Bible).


Copyright 1981,1996 Paul, Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved. This study may be freely used and reproduced, wholly or in part, by the Christian Church for the non-profit purposes of study and training only, provided copyright and contact information is included.

Unless otherwise stated, all scriptures quoted in these studies are from the New International Version of the Bible New York International Bible Society, used by permission. Other versions referred to are: KJV (King James Version), NKJB (New King James Bible), TLB (The Living Bible), Amp (The Amplified Bible) and The Message. All versions used by permission.

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