Bumper-stickers seem to have given way to 'Family-stickers', whereby decals representing mum, dad and children (including cats and even Daleks!) are pasted to vehicle rear windows. But what constitutes a family? In the philosophy of our own Post-Modernist age family, like everything else, is whatever you want it to be! However, the consistent Christian would begin their definition of family with God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, how does the following sound? As three Persons form the 'family' of God so (at least) three persons constitute a human family. Married couples talk about ‘starting a family.’ When pregnant a woman is spoken of as being ‘in the family way.’ These sayings give credence to the definition of a family as consisting of at least three persons, i.e., a husband, a wife and ensuing child/children.
Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus were a family in blood as well as legally. Though God (not Joseph) is Jesus’ real Father, Jesus was formed of the substance of Mary, i.e., He was of her bloodline. Joseph was the legal father of Jesus. Thus, the Biblical definition of 'family' has both blood and legal connotations. The uniqueness of Jesus is that He belongs to the family of God and to the family of humanity. He is the Son of God and He is the Son of Man at the same time forever. As the Son of God He is in covenant with God forever and as the Son of Man He is in covenant with humanity, i.e., His Bride which is His Church.
Marriage is a covenant. O. Palmer Robertson says ‘A covenant is a bond in blood sovereignly administered.’ Ordinarily the marriage covenant is sealed by the husband and the wife on their wedding night. You will see the idea of the ‘bond in blood’ in the following curious verse which speaks of parents who have given their daughter’s hand in marriage to a man who is questioning their daughter’s virginity, ‘Now he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, “‘I found your daughter was not a virgin,’ and yet these are the evidences of my daughter’s virginity.” And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.’ Deuteronomy 22:17.
Adam and Eve produced a family. ‘Adam … had sons and daughters.’ Genesis 5:4b. All humans belong to Adam’s family through blood but also legally. ‘Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.’ Romans 5:18-19. God as Judge declared humanity guilty and facing condemnation because Adam (as mankind’s representative) broke the covenant. We are born into a covenant-breaking family (humanity). God legally condemns us. However, because Christ has shed His (covenant) blood for His bride (the Church) God is able legally to declare us as righteous (i.e., justified). Justification is a legal transaction in God’s court. God causes those justified to be born again, i.e., born into the family of God, which means you have been legally adopted by God and belong to Him. Like Adam’s family, so God’s family has both blood and legal aspects. Christ’s blood is the blood on the cloth, which is the blood of His bride’s virginity. Of which family are you? God’s or Adam’s?