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3 - Children of God

“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 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.”

It is not infrequent, throughout the history of the Christian faith, that we lose sight of that which matters most. Those who disagree with Christianity will often point to moments in Church history like the Crusades and ask, “How can Christianity be valid if war and conquest has been carried out in the name of Christ?” To that, my response is always the same: anything can be justified when we lose sight of the kingdom of God and of Christ our Lord. The lust for power has always proven a strong motivator to the human heart.

The prologue of John’s gospel contains this key reminder which we who read his words should always carry with us as we progress: Christ enters this world so that we have the chance to share His image in a new way. In Him, we become children of God. No, we weren’t born of God in the conventional sense. We are adopted to sonship in Christ Jesus. But just because we are adopted does not make us any less sons and daughters of the King. Of particular interest to us as readers of the New Testament is the system of adoption which was in place in Rome at the time of its writing, as this provides for us some background on the metaphor of adoption as it appears in these works. In Adopted into God’s Family, Trevor Burke notes, “Unlike twenty-first century Western society, where children are the subjects of adoption, in ancient Roman society the subjects of adoption were already adults,” and in this way “…the adopting father could see what he was getting as a son and heir” (66). Although some of us come to Christ in our youth, many of us still come to Him as adults as well. Yet the honors and privileges of the divine family come to each of us, for God has known exactly what dwells within us and chosen us out of darkness to be His own.

We remember that belief in Christ brings with it a “right” – nothing less – to become a child of God. As believers, we are taking hold of that with which God has blessed us in Christ Jesus. In the United States, we love our rights and we speak of them often. But we also recognize that rights are not without cost. For the citizen of the United States, we know that the rights we now enjoy were bought at the price of the blood of patriots who believed in the dream of liberty. For the Christian, our right to become a child of God was bought with the shed blood of our Savior.

Let us not forget the value of the rights we now possess.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the extraordinary gift of Your sacrifice which paved the way for my inclusion into the family of God. The right which is now mine is not anything I have earned, but is thanks entirely to Your work on my behalf. Help me to live in thanksgiving today for the work You have done for me and to walk in humble gratitude. Most of all, help me to faithfully walk as a child of God, that the world around me might see the Father in my life.


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