Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
The phrase now before us, "the household of God," is but a reflection of the ever-recurring reference in the teaching of Christ to God as the Father, both of Himself and of men. The idea of a household grows out of Christ's idea of God as Father, just as the idea in the word citizen in the previous part of the verse grows out of Christ's conception of the kingdom of God. It is to this idea of the Christian society as a household we now give our attention. In another place, regarding it, not in the light of its head, but of the spirit which binds us to this head, he calls it "the household of faith." Now what are the essentials of a household? A household is a society marked by diversity in unity. It is like light, which is composed of the many colours of the spectrum, each colour having a character of its own, but when all are combined forming the pure white light by which we see and work. So a household is a combination — a unity of different characters under one head. And this is the true conception of the Christian society we call the Church. Without the diversity it would be as uninteresting as the grains of wheat in the garner — which are all alike; without the unity it would not be a society at all. Let us see what each involves:
I. OF THE DIVERSITY.
1. A household is not an institution founded on identity of thought. Each member of it may have ideas of his own. Such diversity grows naturally out of the variety of character and mind of its members. It is only another side of the same truth to say —
2. in a household identity of experience as not essential. There is as great a variety of inward life as of mental thought in the members of a family, The differences of feeling are as great as those of intellect.
II. OF THE UNITY OF THE HOUSEHOLD. In what does it consist? Unmistakably in loyalty to its head. Loyalty in a home is only another name for love. The children may have different conceptions of the head of the family; they may regard him in different ways; but if they be loyal, loving, they are a real part of the household. Within this limit there is room for almost endless diversity. One child may understand one part of his father's character, and another may understand another part. The boys may appreciate best the business capacity of their father, and the girls may best discern the tenderer home side of that character. One may appreciate his intellectual qualities, and another his practical ability. But all belong to the household who look up to and trust him as the head. So it is in the household of God — one mind may be compelled by its very nature to grapple with the problems of the Divine Nature; another may be able to believe without attempting to prove. One may need definitions and theories, another may quietly rest in the Lord. But the central, essential thing is to be loyal to the Head. And closely connected with, yea, a part of such loyalty, is, obedience to the Head. Obedience is loyalty in action. Works are the fruit of faith.
(W. G. Herder.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;