1 John 3:1 says,
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
At New Hope we as a congregation have really latched onto singing a song by Bethel called, “No Longer Slaves.” It truly is a wonderful song about breaking the chains of fear and recognizing the work of God in our lives.
In this song there is a powerful declaration made lyrically. The writers conclude the choruses and the bridge with the simple statement, “I am a child of God.” Really, at first glance nothing seems too astounding or revolutionary about this statement because many of us have sat through countless Sunday School classes as children where we were told that exact thing… maybe in a more boring fashion.
But… in reality, there is no statement more revolutionary.
John 1:12 says,
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
What greater love has Christ shown to us than calling us His children?
Being a child entails and encompasses so many of the other things we already know about God and His sacrifice on our behalf.
What does being a child of God really mean?
- Children will be instructed
To “instruct” means to direct, to provide with knowledge, and to train or inform. Like any good parent God does these things with us… His children.
Proverbs 4:1-4 says,
Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.”
As children of God we not only have the right to be instructed by God… but we also have the right to learn and obey!
Proverbs 3:1-2 says,
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
1 Corinthians 14:20 hammers home this idea of continued instruction and growth when it says,
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
It is actually simpler than the world would like us to believe! We understand that our walk with Christ is a process and we should be continually looking more and more like Jesus, but it is hard. If we want instruction and knowledge we are told in Scripture that as Children of God all we have to do is ask for it.
Proverbs 2:1-5 says,
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
There are many ways in which God responds to this “asking” and instructs us as His children. We have been given His Spirit to guide us, we have been given a direct line to the Father in prayer through the death of Jesus, and we have Scripture to instruct and inform us in the ways of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Rejoice! As a child of God you have been granted access to more knowledge than you can ever contain… the important thing for us to remember is simply to take God’s instruction!
- Children will be disciplined
This is the advantage that many of us may consider a disadvantage…
Nobody likes to be disciplined. It is rare that an individual tells on himself or herself, or a criminal asks the judge for a harder sentence. Discipline isn’t fun… but it is often necessary.
Proverbs 13:24 puts it this way,
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
We understand that discipline isn’t done, or shouldn’t be done, out of anger, frustration, or spite… but rather it is an act of love to steer or guide someone away from something harmful or detrimental to them. Proverbs tells us that a parent who doesn’t discipline their child doesn’t love them…in fact they are said to hate them! It is for this reason that we know God disciplines us as His children.
Hebrews 12:5-11 says,
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
So… God disciplines us because He loves us. As children what do where do we go with that information?
Proverbs 12:1 says,
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
We should take the Lord’s discipline and learn from it. Discipline isn’t something to hate the discipliner for… rather it should cause us to love more deeply.
- Children will be nurtured
Psalms 103: 13 says,
The Lord is like a Father to his children, tender, and full of compassion to those who fear Him. For He understands how weak we are, He knows we are only dust.
We are children of a tender Father who is full of compassion. If that doesn’t call for a loud hallelujah then I don’t know what will.
When snooping around online I found an article on a health website that had 8 things to do as far as nurturing a child goes. When reading those points all I could think about was, “That is exactly what God does for us… His children.” Those points were,
- Encourage your child to express his or her feelings; respect those feelings. Let your child know that everyone experiences pain, fear, anger, and anxiety.
- Keep communication channels open.
- Listen to your child. Encourage questions. Provide comfort and assurance. Be honest.
- Encourage your child’s talents.
- Spend time regularly with your child.
- Foster your child’s self-worth. Help your child deal with life’s ups and downs. Show confidence in your child’s ability to handle problems and tackle new experiences.
- Discipline constructively, fairly, and consistently. Use discipline as a form of teaching, not physical punishment. Help your child learn from his or her mistakes.
- Love unconditionally. Teach the value of apologies, cooperation, patience, forgiveness, and consideration for others.
How thankful are we for God and His gentle nurturing?
- Children will be protected
My personal favorite part of being a child of God is the benefit of God’s protection that comes with it.
Psalm 91:1-10 says,
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
Psalm 34:7 says,
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
There is no problem, enemy, or force of Satan that is more powerful than our God. In our weakness His strength is magnified. In our trials His grace is evident and His mercy is liberating.
Psalm 46:1 says,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Isaiah 41:10 says,
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The Lord is present. As God’s children we must merely ask.
Psalm 34:4 says,
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Because we are Children of God we have nothing to fear.
Psalm 27:1 says,
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
There is nothing more freeing than being a Child of God. John Adams once said,
Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.
God is our Father and educator and there is nothing more freeing than salvation. If you have been reborn as a child of God walk in that freedom… if you haven’t been born into His family all you have to do is ask, it is an open invitation.