Home-ownership for all, with the security associated with it, was the dream of the eighties. For many, that dream has become the nightmare of the nineties. Homes no longer guarantee the sense of peace we think they should. Indeed, the experience of many has been quite the opposite.
The equity trap has meant that many live with the strain of owning a property costing more than it is worth. The threat of redundancy means that even those who rent rather than buy their homes can no longer be sure of a secured income to keep up the monthly payments. We have all grown used to the sombre small print: ‘Your home is at risk if you do not…’
Of course, the idea of ‘home’ has much deeper associations in our mind than just the bricks and mortar around us. It carries the notion of having somewhere to belong — a place where we are loved and accepted. It is perhaps with that thought in mind that we find the Bible using the language of home to help us understand the needs of our soul.
The message of the Bible begins in a place where the human race was perfectly ‘at home’. There was a real sense of peace in the garden of Eden, not just because the environment was stress-free, but because God was there with our first ancestors.
He was there as Father to his children and his presence and acceptance meant more to them than anything in the world. But the peace and tranquillity of that home was shattered because the children rebelled, and God was forced to expel them from his presence (Genesis 3:23). The home that God intended this world to be for mankind became a broken home.
The good news is that God did not intend it to stay broken. Even as he spoke the words that would send them from his presence, God promised he would do something to bring men and women back into his family. He said he would send someone to deal with the root of the problem, namely sin, and rescue people whose lives had been ruined by it (Genesis 3:15). The person he sent was none other than his own eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus explained that the ultimate purpose of his mission was ‘to prepare a place’ for those who are his children (John 14:2). They will have an everlasting home where they will have never-ending peace. He was talking about the new heaven and earth that will one day replace this world, a world which has been ruined by a race in rebellion against its Maker (2 Peter 3:13).
So the Bible talks about our natural life, and the natural world around us, in terms of a home that is insecure. Our bodies are like tents which must one day be dismantled in death (2 Corinthians 5:1). Our world is like a city which, by its very nature, simply cannot last for ever (Hebrews 13:14). But in the same breath it tells us of a home that provides true security — the home into which we are brought when God takes us back into a loving relationship with himself.
That happens when we stop depending on ourselves to make something of life and, instead, put our hope and confidence in Jesus as the Saviour God has sent. He himself says that he is the way by which we come to God (John 14:6) and he is the one who gives us life in all its fulness (John 10:10).
When we come to know God in this way we suddenly find ourselves in an amazing new spiritual home. We can call God ‘Our Father’. Jesus becomes our elder brother; and we discover the great number of brothers and sisters who together make up the family of God. We enter a home which can never be taken from us and from which we can never be evicted (Romans 8:31-39). It is the home of the everlasting love of God.
How secure is your home? — not the house or flat you happen to be renting or buying, but your life and the little world in which you live? Could it be crumbling all around you, for a host of different reasons? God, through his Son Jesus Christ, offers you a true and lasting home — a place in his family — which he guarantees for time and for eternity.