I John 3:2
“Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.”
Now we are the children of God. That’s not so bad when you consider what we were. You know Paul’s words from Romans 5? “When we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…” Really? Enemies? That seems a bit strong doesn’t it? Enemies? Yes! There is no other way to describe people who have taken their own Maker’s instructions, thrown them aside, and like a defiant little two year old looked him in the eye and said, “It’s my life. I’m going to do what I want. I don’t care what you say about sharing. I don’t care what you say about how I use my body. I don’t care if you don’t like my potty mouth.” Active little rebels–we were God’s enemies!
Or there is Paul’s other picture from Ephesians: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…” Dead ! A spiritual corpse! From God’s point of view, in our sin, without real love for anyone but ourselves, we were lifeless, hopeless, useless–done!
And that is what we were. It is hard to say which is worse, being enemies or corpses, but we don’t have to make a choice, because the Bible calls us both.
But on a dark Friday nearly 2000 years ago Jesus gave up his life to remove our guilt and to forgive all our sins. Again, look at the quote a moment ago from Romans 5, “When we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” We are reconciled, not enemies.
By his resurrection from the dead three days later Jesus conquered our death. As much as that means new life for our bodies, it also brings new life to our souls. “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ,” Paul wrote the Colossians. Now we have faith, we have hope, we have life.
It’s harder to say which is better, the cross or the empty tomb, but Jesus gives us both. His salvation doesn’t leave us hard choices. It gives it all together as one beautiful gift.
That is why John can say, “Dear friends, now we are the children of God.” Now we are children! Do you know what that means? The first word here tells us that we are dear, we are loved. God treasures us as his own.
As God’s children, we are cared for. “As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.” Do you have pictures of this kind of thing from your own childhood? I picture my wife keeping vigil at the side of our son at Medical City when he had cancer. Our heavenly Father keeps his vigil over us, always ready to take care of our every need.
As God’s children, we are simply enjoyed by him. He is pleased to laugh and play with his little ones. I can’t help but think of the Christian character in the movie “Chariots of Fire,” Scottish runner Eric Liddell, telling his sister that when he runs he “feels God’s pleasure.” God’s children are people in whom he takes delight.
“Now we are the children of God.” That’s not so bad now, is it, and Jesus’ death and resurrection have made it all possible.