“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” ~ 1 John 3:1

To be a child of God is not natural for us. We were conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5). We were children of wrath and at one time fulfilled the sinful desires of our heart in gratifying the lusts of our flesh (Eph. 2:3). We don’t deserve to be called children of God and to be loved by Him.

But because of His great mercy, God in Christ adopted us as His children. We are adopted children of God in Christ. We who were dead in transgressions and sins are made alive by God, giving us new life, new heart and mind, new desire and direction. In Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Part of God’s gift of grace to us is our new identity and status: We are children of God by faith.

And what is that to us now that we are God’s children? Everything! Our adoption into the family of God is the foundation of our hope. That hope manifests itself in our obedience and gratitude to God as His children.

Consider our Lord Jesus. How did His knowledge of His Sonship shape all His life on earth? When He was a boy, He was already aware of His identity and mission as God’s Son. At the temple in Jerusalem, He declared to His human parents that He must be in His Father’s house doing His Father’s will. Yet that knowledge did not prevent Him from being an obedient child of Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:51).

Further, at Jesus’ baptism, the Father affirmed His identity, calling Him His ‘beloved Son.’ Immediately after that He was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan in the wilderness of Judea. The devil hurled all kinds of temptations at Him but Christ remained faithful to the Father, obeying Him at every point of Satan’s attack. His conscious awareness of His identity as God’s only begotten Son made Christ resist every temptation and endure every pain and affliction.

Even at the crucial moments of His trial, such as in Gethsemane and at the cross, Jesus never failed to call upon His Father. And this gave Him the strength to endure every sorrow and pain, even the greatest pain of being forsaken by the Father because of our sins laid upon Him.

And because of the suffering and death of God’s only begotten Son, many children have been born anew into the family of God. You and I are reborn into God’s family because of what Jesus the Son has done.

But not only that, knowing that the Father would raise Him from the dead and exalt Him to glory, Jesus came and offered His life as a sacrifice for sin. He knew that the Father would not abandon Him to the grave but would raise Him and glorify Him after His suffering for a short while.

Jesus’ Sonship served as the solid foundation to hope for a better future, which enabled Him to endure every trial. He suffered severely but He set His mind on the glory and joy that would follow because He knew that the Father is faithful in fulfilling His promise.

Our adoption into the family of God avails us of the same hope for a better future. Our Father in heaven assures us in His Word that if we persevere through suffering, we will taste the fullness of His promised blessings. That’s something for you and me to think about and to remember always.

Maybe some of us do not see ourselves worthy before the Lord. We’ve been unfaithful to Him in our walk as God’s children. We easily give in to temptation or to our own weakness, may it be uncontrolled anger, greed, worry, gossip, or lust. Let us not allow our sins to deprive us of the precious gift of forgiveness that the Father grants us in Christ.

So rather than yielding, let us throw off every sin that so easily entangles us. And when we fall let us seek God’s forgiveness in repentance immediately. Remember that as His adopted children God will not abandon us in our weakness and struggle.

So when you and I are tempted to engage in some sins, let us remind ourselves, “I can’t do this because I’m a child of God and it would disgrace the name of the Father.” Or the next time a lustful thought or grumbling heart or lying tongue tries to tempt you to give in to its desire, let us remember that we are God’s children. Sin is unbecoming to you and me as members of God’s holy family.

Children of God in Christ

Vic Bernales is an ordained minister in the Pearl of the Orient Covenant Reformed Church. He pastors the Davao Covenant Reformed Church in Davao City, Philippines. He earned his Master of Divinity at Mid-America Reformed Seminary at Dyer, Indiana, U.S.A.

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