Becoming Children of God

Home Church Devotional 10/14/2020

These devotionals were written during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic when area churches were not allowed to meet for fear of spreading the coronavirus. They were used in place of a full sermon as my family and I gathered for worship and communion.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.                                                                                John 1:12-13 (NASB)

If I have heard it once, I have heard it a million times. It comes from the pulpit, church members, Hollywood movies and television shows and people who have never set foot in a church. What have I heard that is so widely said by so many? “We are all children of God.” The thing is, nothing could be further from the truth. Today’s passage will help us to see clearly that there are conditions to be met in order to be a child of God. What is true however, is that we are ALL created in the IMAGE of God. Bearing the image of God is what makes us human and gives us a relationship with God. That image has been broken or disfigured by sin, but it remains redeemable, making all human life valuable.  

We have already seen how Jesus came to His own and His own did not receive Him. In verse 11 the Greek word used for “receive” means to welcome. However, John chooses a different Greek word for “receive” this time. In our passage today, receive carries the meaning of accepting. To receive Jesus is to welcome and acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. As we “receive” Jesus, He gives us the right to become children of God. In saying we have the “right”, John uses the Greek word that means authority or permission. This speaks of God granting the right or giving permission, the privilege, for a new birth. No one can attain this new birth on their own strength, ability or good works – only God grants the new birth. The spiritual rebirth, being born again, is an act that is granted by God alone; there is nothing we can do to achieve it and it has nothing to do with human planning.

John makes it clear that “believe” parallels “receive” as another aspect of our relationship with Jesus. This leaves no doubt that we must make a conscious personal decision – responding to the call of Jesus. To believe in Jesus, in context, means to wholeheartedly believe, not limiting Jesus by our own ideas or misconceptions through church teachings or traditions; we must regard or believe in Jesus as He is revealed in Scripture. In this context, believing and receiving indicate an informed awareness, not a blind or empty faith. There is a personal object we believe and receive – Jesus Christ. Thus, the object of our faith is not a system, it is not a tradition and it is not an organization – we believe and receive Christ Jesus. When we receive and believe in Jesus, He then gives us the right, the permission and privilege, of becoming children of God.

Those who believe and claim “we are all children of God,” really mean they want all of the benefits and privileges but none of the responsibility or accountability. The true child of God follows Him in full commitment, gratitude, friendship and fellowship. Being born in this world makes us physically alive. We are firmly planted in our parent’s family. To be born of God means we are spiritually alive and have joined God’s family. To be a child of God means you have received new life. The old self has died in the waters of baptism, identified with Christ in His death and risen a new creation through those same waters. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus – the old you has passed and the new self has come. Being a child of God means you are now a son or daughter of the King.

This means you now share in full family privileges, including the family inheritance. You have become a co-heir with Jesus, to rule over and reign in the Kingdom of God. You have been given a new name, a name that will only be revealed in eternity. You have received eternal life as a child of God. He has granted that you will live forever with Him, in His new heavens and earth, in the New Jerusalem, where you will have full access to all it provides. Becoming a child of God means you have the mind of Christ, holding His thoughts, feelings and purpose. We are predestined to become like Christ the moment we become a child of God. This fresh start is made available by God alone and comes to those who believe in and receive Jesus Christ. So, now the question remains…Have you received Jesus Christ to become a child of God? Are you ready to be granted new birth and become a new creation in Christ Jesus? Are you ready to experience the full privileges and benefits of being a son or daughter of the King?

It is never too late. Christ stands ready to those who are open to hearing His call and waiting to receive you and welcome you to His ever-growing family? Won’t you believe and receive Jesus today?

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