The test of relationship with Jesus is obedience to His Father. Christ is not laying down the means of becoming His kinsmen, but the tokens that we are such. He is sometimes misunderstood as saying, “Do God’s will without My help, and you will become My kindred.” What He really says is, “If you are My kindred, you will do God’s will and, if you do, you will show that you are such.” So, the statement that we become His kindred by faith does not conflict with this great saying. The two take hold of the Christian life at different points: the one deals with the means of its origination, the other with the tokens of its reality. Faith is the root of obedience, obedience is the blossom of faith. Jesus does not stand like a stranger till we have hammered out obedience to His Father and then reward us by welcoming us as His brethren, but He answers our faith by giving us a life kindred with, because derived from, His own, and then we can obey.
It is active submission to God’s will, not orthodox creed or devout emotion, which shows that we are His blood relations. By such obedience, we draw His love more and more to us. Though it is not the means of attaining to kinship with Him, it is the condition of receiving love tokens from Him and of increasing affinity with Him. – Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), from a meditation on Mark 3.22-35.