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What’s in Your Family?

We know well the credit card commercial slogan, “What’s in your wallet?” The idea is that you need the right card, the preferred card, the one that will get you the most—now. But what if we were to ask that question of our families? What’s in your family? Will the answer be a glowing account of all the great saints who preceded you, how your parents were the best, and your children are all beautiful and above average?

Last Sunday I shared what’s in my family. My family has a heritage of polygamy, secrecy, self-interest, fraud and manipulation (there’s a lot more to the story than the brief excerpts I read). But it sounds a lot like Jacob and his family, doesn’t it? The lineage of sin can come down through many generations. It’s hard to read about some family history, especially if it has been recorded for all to read. Whether it’s in our own family lineage or Jacob’s, we see the threads of sin and God’s amazing grace running through their story and ours.

When we consider that we learn positive lessons from negative examples, we should realize that sometimes we are the negative examples. When we look at the story of Esau selling his birthright and Jacob stealing the blessing, and the role of each one—Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob—we learn about ourselves, because we are them.

But enough about us, what about God? What do we learn about Him in this story so full of deceit and manipulation? He is sovereign. He is gracious. His will is always best. God is gracious to save us from ourselves. What if these people were able to choose their own fates? What if God left us to our own devices? I’m so grateful that he doesn’t. He has overruled sin from my lineage and yours as well. What incredible grace!

What’s in your wallet? A credit card allows us buy now and pay later. We sin now and pay later as well. Our payment in consequences will come around eventually. But thanks be to God that our debt of sin is bought and paid for by Jesus’ death and resurrection. We don’t get past-due notices; we have access to the throne of grace at all times. No late fees, even if we’re late in confessing our sins.

So what's in your family? We all have this one thing that has been passed down to us: sin. But redemption and salvation are available to all family members. Regardless of the mistakes and missteps of those who have gone before us, we are not bound to the debt of their accounts. We are free and clear through God’s gracious intervention!

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