Jesus has saved us into a family called the Church. As a new Christian, one does not only gain a new Father, a new Savior, and a new Spirit who dwells within them, but they have gained new brothers and sister and moms and dads (1 Tim. 5:1). By being in Christ, we have been adopted into a new family. Praise God!
As it is with all families we share much in common even when, on the outside, it may not seem like it. In his book Practical Religion, J.C. Ryle speaks about the family resemblance Christians share with one another, no matter how much they don’t have in common. As you read this, think about your own experience. What is it like when you meet Christians who are different from you in many ways, yet seem like they have been life long friends?
This family likeness among true believers is a thing that deserves special attention. To my own mind it is one of the strongest indirect evidences of the truth of Christianity. It is one of the greatest proofs of the reality of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Some true Christians live in civilized countries, and some in the midst of heathen lands.
Some are highly educated, and some are unable to read a single letter of the alphabet.
Some are rich and some are poor.
Some are old and some are young.
And yet, despite all these differences, there is a marvelous oneness of heart and character among them. Their joys and their sorrows, their love and their hatred, their likes and their dislikes, their preferences and their aversions, their hopes and their fears, are all most curiously alike. Let others think what they please, I see in all this the finger of God. His handiwork is always one and the same. No wonder that true Christians are compared to “a family.”
Take a converted Englishman and a converted Indian, and let them suddenly meet for the first time. I will ensure you, if they can understand one another’s language, they will soon find common ground between them, and feel at home. The one may have been brought up at Oxford, and enjoyed every privilege of English civilization. The other may have been trained in the midst of gross heathenism, and accustomed to habits, ways, and manners as unlike the Englishman’s as darkness compared to light. And yet now in half an hour they feel that they are friends! The Englishman finds that he has more in common with this Indian brother than he has with many of his old college companions. Who can account for this? How can it be explained? Nothing can account for it but the unity of the Holy Spirit’s teaching. It is “one touch” of grace (not nature) “that makes the whole world family.” God’s people are in the brightest sense “a family.” (J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, Family of God chapter)