Last week, we learned that we are beloved by God- His dearly loved, esteemed, favorite children. This week, let’s look at what it means to be God’s children.
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it- we’re called the children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. – 1 John 3:1 (Message Bible)
The original Greek word for “child” in this verse is “tekna”- child, daughter, son. I love the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon definition: “to be regarded as true, genuine children, accounted as children begotten by virtue of God’s promise…. in Paul’s writings, all who are animated by the Spirit of God and thus are closely related to God.”
“Animated” in this definition appears to mean “enlivened”- We are enlivened by the Spirit of God Himself, & therefore closely related to Him- His children. More than that, & more than being God’s adopted children- we are regarded as His genuine children- that puts us on the same level as Jesus in God’s eyes! Whoa!! If THAT doesn’t make you jump for joy!!
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. – Romans 8:14-17
What does this mean for us? Well, if through faith, we have accepted Christ, then He is in us, & we are in Him- we are God’s children, as Christ is God’s Son (Galatians 3:26), & we share with Him the wonderful inheritance of God’s glory! (Galatians 4:6, Revelations 21:7) That doesn’t mean the path to receiving our inheritance will be easy- as He suffered, so also must we. We will be confronted with trials & temptations; the enemy will do all he can to try to break our faith. But we have the assurance of God’s promise, that when we stand firm, He not only goes ahead to make a way for us, He carries us! (I could share testimony after testimony here of how God has carried me through the trials- but let’s save those for future posts 😉 )
Because we, God’s children, are flesh & blood, Christ became flesh & blood to break the power of death over us (Hebrews 2:14 ). It is our responsibility in this world, to live our lives in obedience to God’s Word, being imitators of Him- working for peace & allowing His true character to be displayed through us, & not to become backslidden, falling into old behaviors He has delivered us out of (Ephesians 5:1, Matthew 5:5, 1 Peter 1:14). If we fall into those behaviors, we are not living lives that bring glory to our Father, & He will have to discipline us (Hebrews 12:8). That discipline usually comes in the form of natural consequences- i.e., if something’s going wrong in your life, ask God to show you where you’re missing it. When you come to Him with an open heart, He will show you what you need to fix, & how to fix it. He parents & corrects us in love & empathy. Even as we suffer the consequences of our mistakes, He walks with us & guides in correcting ourselves. What a Good Father we have! How blessed we are to be called His children!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1