Children of God

1 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. Jesus’ death and resurrection promise even better things to come. But just this, “children of God,” is 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. Enemies? Yes! There is no other way to describe people who have taken their own Maker’s instructions, thrown them aside, and like a defiantly told him, “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!

Another of Paul’s picture from Ephesians isn’t any better: “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, enemies or corpses, but we don’t have to make a choice. The Bible calls us both.

Jesus’ resurrection marks the change of all of that. On Good Friday Jesus gave up his life to remove our guilt and forgive all our sins. Look at the end of 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 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 “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. We are in no position to advise our Lord about how he runs the universe. One Christian writer compares our relationship with him to the relationship between a parent with an IQ like Einstein, and a little child who is only two. To make a relationship possible, the father will accommodate himself to the toddler he loves. The child will know her daddy, but she won’t completely comprehend him. What the father reveals to the daughter will be true, so 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 cared for. “As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). Do you have pictures of this kind of thing from your own childhood? I picture my wife keeping vigil at the side of one son when he was hospitalized with RSV as a 6 month old, or at another son’s side when he had cancer. Our heavenly Father keeps his vigil over us, always ready to take care of our every need.

We are protected. Have you ever watched protective parents at a child’s soccer game? If another player is too pushy with their budding star, or the referee isn’t making good calls, woe to the person who dares to threaten their little athlete. The mama bear or papa bear inside comes out. You don’t want to be on the other end of that fight.

If something threatens the souls of our heavenly Father’s children, woe to the demon or tempter who dares to do so. Be assured that he will protect them. You don’t want to be on the wrong end of that fight!

As God’s children, we are simply enjoyed by him. He is pleased to laugh and play with his little ones. A beautiful picture in the last chapter of Isaiah depicts 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. He tells 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.” Our world has many problems. Our lives have many crosses. But “children of God” isn’t a bad position to be in. Jesus’ death and resurrection make it so.

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