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Children of God


John 1:12-13

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Story: By grace, the words of verses 9-11 are not the last word. Some, said John, did receive Him and believe in Him. To those, He gave the greatest imaginable privilege, the right to become children of God. Most of us have heard that phrase so often that its outrageous claim gets lost. In Genesis 6:4, we read how “the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them.” These “sons of God” were warriors and self-proclaimed deities who collected harems. Their story is part of the wickedness and evil that resulted in the Flood. “Children of God” in John is different. Rather than being a self-bestowed honorific title, it is a reality that involves new birth given by God into His eternal life. Only God can make that happen. Those who are born anew as children of God are thus born by the will of God. They become the Father’s sons and daughters and the incarnate Son’s brothers and sisters. Venite adoramus. Come, let us adore Him.

The Structure: St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians (3:26-4:7) enumerates the privileges that go with this new birth into life as a child of God. First we have the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) living in our hearts. The life of God—by nature eternal life—is already inside us. Second, by the Spirit in us we cry “Abba, Father.” This is a cry of dependence, trust, and shocking intimacy. It’s the cry of a child for “Daddy” who will make whatever it is all better. Third, we are heirs—“heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Paul specified in Romans 8:17. And Christ is “the heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). This gives full meaning to the words “all things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21-22). Since everything belongs to Christ, the children of God who are His fellow heirs are heirs to all things. We could all spend 2017 working out the worldview implications of that and still not finish.

What does it mean to you that you are a child of God by receiving and believing in Jesus? What difference does it make in your daily life?

 

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