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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:1-2
Children of God!
If you enjoy (or enjoyed) an average or above average relationship with your parents, I’ll bet you’re a lot like me. I don’t think much about what it means to be a child in the family of my parents. That’s especially true because I no longer live in the house of my parents. Except for special occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I don’t dwell deeply on the fact that my sisters and my brother and I are children loved by committed parents. How easily I lose sight of that wonderful blessing. Perhaps you have a different story. You never knew your parents, have been separated from them, or were treated poorly by them. What a difficult thing in the life of any child!
But for all of us, no matter whether the relationship with our earthly parents is good, bad or non-existent, there is a message from the Bible that can take our breath away. The Almighty and Everlasting God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things lavishes his love on us and makes us his own children! This is especially amazing and thrilling and breath-taking when we consider that we have no right to claim that position on our own. Spiritually speaking we are the rebellious run-aways who have pushed aside the love of our Father. By our sin we have forfeited our place in his home and our claim to the inheritance of his heaven.
But this is where God shows his greatness as a relentlessly seeking Father. He gave up his dearest possession to make us his own. He sent his Son, with whom he has the most pure and holy relationship, into our world to rescue us and adopt us into his family. Through his Son, Jesus Christ, our Father has broken through the barrier that separated us. He has removed all the blemishes of our sins which kept us from being a part of his family. He sends his Holy Spirit who brings us to faith in Jesus through the Word of God and makes us members of God’s family. Is it any wonder that the apostle John writes the way he does? “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Bearing the name of our heavenly Father means a couple important things as we live out our lives in this world. First, it means that people who don’t know Jesus as Savior will look on us strangely and may treat us poorly because of our family connection. When that happens, think of the love your Father continues to lavish on you. Read his love letter to you, the Bible. Surround yourself with like-minded Christians in worship and Bible study. Secondly, it means that we live as children of a Father whose desire it is that we grow more and more in his image until the day he takes us to receive our heavenly inheritance. What a precious thing that is! What a great reminder to stay connected to him through his Word and Sacrament that we might grow in our desire and ability to live as his children. Children of God—that is what we are! Thanks and praise be to him.
Lord God, what I could never claim on my own—to be your child!—you have accomplished through your Son, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Help me to appreciate this great truth and to live as your child every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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