Friday, 3 March 2017

Family Name Part 2

The second thing we get from image-bearing is a family job. In Gen 1:28, it says, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number. Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, every tree that has fruit, every seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the sky and all the creatures that move on the ground, everything that has the breath of life in it, I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” We are given a job. Our job is to fill the earth, to rule the earth, and to subdue the earth.

 When I was young I didn’t want to inherit any kind of job from my parents. I didn’t want to be a counselor, and that’s what they were. But now at 41, I am starting to think that it would be really nice to just inherit the family business. Now I wish it weren’t as complicated as counseling. Maybe something like making tiddly-winks would be an easier job for me to inherit. But as I get older, I want to have a family job. Why would I want to inherit the family business? Because if I inherited the family business, that means I’d be working alongside my dad, and I would get it, and I would understand what I was supposed to do, and it wouldn’t be so scary out there because dad would have taught me how to do it, right? I want the family job. God, in image-bearing, gives us a job. A job to subdue, a job to rule, and a job to fill up the earth: to be fruitful and multiply.

Now, in image-bearing, we have a family name, we have a family job, and there’s one more thing. Gen 2:20: “So the man gave names to all the livestock [(God had brought all these animals before him)], the birds in the sky, and the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken from the man and He brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called “woman” for she was taken out of man.” For this reason the man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” The third thing that we inherit as image-bearers of God is family-ties, or, relationship with one another. We inherit intimacy with each other: relationship that doesn’t involve conflict and shame. So yes, there’s intimacy between man and woman who bear God’s image, but there’s this idea here that we inherit family and relationship, and there isn’t any kind of brokenness in it. So we get the family name, we get the family job, and we get community as image-bearers of God. That’s what we have in the Garden. That’s what God intended for us to have: for us to have a name, for us to have a job, and for us to be in community together. It’s good stuff.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Family Name

Gen 1:27 says, “God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them, male and female he created them”. It is important for us to understand that human beings are the only living things that are created in the image of God. We bear God’s image. This means that we are like God; when you bear an image, you’re like God. To understand what sin and the Curse have done to us, we have to understand what is given to us by image-bearing.

Gen 2:5 says, “No shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth, and there was no one to work the ground. But streams came up from the earth, and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” God forms man and then he breathes into him. God’s breath is what gives us life. When I look at my children, what I see a lot of times, as my children are growing, is my father on their face for awhile, and then my mom, and my wife, and me, and the uncles and aunts, and as they grow older, you can begin to see them morphing into different people in the family. You see the genetics. But what I see more than anything is Sue and I. And what I’m struck with, is I gave them life. Now, God is the one who gave me the power to give them life, but I brought them about. Sue and I made them. They bear my image.

The first idea of image-bearing is that we belong to God like my kids belong to me, and so the first thing we’re given in image-bearing is a family name. When you read the Old Testament, you’ll see that names mean something. In my family, the Cepin name means something. There are a lot of things that it means, but when I look at my brothers and I, and what we do, and I look at my parents, I realize that for the Cepin name, one of the things that it means is hospitality. All of us are very hospitable. We always have an open door, and people are always at everybody’s house; the same with my parents. And the other thing is, the Cepin family name means you take care of people. I’ve seen my parents do that, I’ve done that, my brothers have done that. But also, it means that you look at baseball stats in the newspaper. If you think about your own family, there are things that your family just does. It’s passed on to you. We get a family name from God: he breathed life into us. Now what God's name gives us is holiness. See, God can’t walk with his creatures if they’re not holy, so one of the things that comes with being part of God’s family is being holy. Now, holiness a lot of times is hard to explain, because we don’t go around saying, “Hey, I’m holy” or “He’s not very holy”. That’s not how we use our language.

Number one, holiness means sacred. So if something is holy, it’s sacred. Number two, a holy thing is right, it’s not wrong. Third, holiness is the definition of sanity.    This all means that we’ve inherited from God a rightness, a sacredness, and a saneness. That’s what came with the family name. So the first thing we get from image-bearing is a family name.