God’s Children

1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are the children of God…

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 Good Friday Jesus gave up his life to remove our guilt and to forgive all our sins. Again, look at the quote 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 on Easter morning 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, Good Friday or Easter, 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? Children are not the same thing as employees–cheap labor for God because they are now “part of the family.” His main interest is not what we can do for him.

Nor are children the adult sons and daughters who stand independently and alongside God as his equals. One Christian writer compares our relationship to him to the relationship between a parent who has an I.Q. like Einstein, and a little child who is only two. To make a relationship possible, the father accommodates himself to the toddler he loves. The child will know her daddy, but she won’t completely comprehend him. What the father reveals to his daughter will be true, as far as it goes. But there will always be more.

You see, we are the children of God, and that means that we are dear, we are loved. God treasures us as his own.

As God’s children, we are simply enjoyed by him. He is pleased to laugh and play with his little ones. There is a beautiful picture in the last chapter of Isaiah of God enjoying his children like a parent bouncing a child on his knees. 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.

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