God is our Father now, and He will be forever when we live with Him in our “Father’s house” (John 14:2). After we arrive there, we will rejoice in an eternal family. Have you ever seen on the news the reunion of siblings who were separated by war or tragedy and who’ve not seen each other in fifty years, thinking the other was dead? The loving embraces and tears of joy are beautiful to behold. Christian, soon and for all eternity you will see smiling faces running to embrace you, shouting, “Brother!” or “Sister!”
These are terms of intimacy. Those running to embrace you will indeed be your brothers and sisters, closer than anyone you have known in this world. Note that all these terms relate to the nuclear family. There’s no mention in the Bible of aunts, uncles, or cousins in our relationships to God or to His people. You may have relatives greeting you in heaven, but there they—and even your earthly father, mother, or spouse, if they are there—will greet you as “Brother!” or “Sister!”
Have you realized that no relationship you enjoy on earth, no matter how long or how intimate, will compare to the nearness, dearness, and closeness you will feel with every person in heaven? This will occur because of the work of the Holy Spirit and the yet-unimaginable changes to every part of our being. In fact, even now the Spirit has bonded us with other believers in a way that is deeper than with our earthly family. Because of this, and in a way compatible with all the biblical commands about how we’re to relate to our earthly family, our first and highest loyalties are to the family of God.
These are ideal terms. By that I mean that these terms refer to relationships as they should be, without any of the negative associations they may have in this world. On earth we may endure a cruel father, sibling rivalry, or an unfaithful spouse. And because of these experiences, some may struggle to think biblically of God as their Father, of fellow Christians as their brothers and sisters in Christ, and of Christ as their bridegroom. Scripture acknowledges that sin sullies every relationship—even the most loving Christian ones—on this side of heaven. Nevertheless, we are called to pursue purity and holiness (the ideal) in all of them (see 1 Tim. 5:1–2).
Already the reality is that God is a perfect Father and Jesus a perfect Brother. One day, together with all believers, we will be made for Christ a perfect bride, “holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). On that day, every relationship with every other person in heaven will indeed be perfect, occurring in what Jonathan Edwards called “a world of love.”
All these terms are your spiritual birthright, Christian. Use them, and rejoice in them.