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“God’s Children Bear A Family Resemblence”

I John 3:2 we are God’s children now; …we will be like him.

All important events in the life cycle are connected to certain rituals which most of us know and in which we readily share.  For instance—when a baby is born:

“Who does she/he look like?”
“He has his Dad’s nose.”
“Her face is shaped just like her mother’s.”

            Now, often that is not a fact so much as expectation.  We look for and expect a child to resemble its parents and family members.  As a child grows it usually exhibits more and more traits of family.  It may not be so noticeable to those who see it every day but is often obvious to others.

So when John says we are God’s children, it raises some expectations.  If you were reading this in the Greek text, it would say “NOW we are God’s children.”  The emphasis is on the “now.”  In context, it is clear that those who are trusting Jesus belong to God’s family.

To say we are God’s children has powerful implications.  Not the least of which is that it establishes our identity.  To know who you are, to have a sense of identity, may well be one of the most important factors in your mental and emotional health.  If you do not have a sense of identity, if you do not know who you are, chances are, you have some real problems in your life.  This is especially important in our day, because we live in a world where there is a tendency to treat a person as an object, to manipulate a person, to see a person as disposable, to see one as useful only as he/she serves me and my ends.

To have a sense of belonging, to have a sense of identity is also vital to our spiritual health.  Often when someone introduces me, they tell my name but add something to that.  He’s our neighbor, a pastor at Messiah Church, Alana’s husband.  And the less they know me personally, the more likely they are to do that, to identify me by my function, my job.

Probably you have been identified, not by who you are so much, as by some relationship—Joe Blow’s wife or Susie Blow’s husband, or by some job you perform.

But when we say we are God’s children, it establishes our identity, not by our function or even just our relationship but OUR NATURE.  The CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT SIMPLY TAKING ORDERS FROM GOD OR EVEN FOLLOWING JESUS’ EXAMPLE.  THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS LIVING OUT A NEW NATURE, being part of a new kind of people.  Obviously as to “behaving like God’s children” most of us have a ways to go.  The child is not yet what he/she may become.  But the genes are there and with normal growth and development maturity will come.

And we have that amazing promise: “We shall be like Him!”  “Not yet but shall be” is essential to being human.  There is always the tension between what I am (performance) and what I shall be.  As Gordon Allport has said, “All people are in transit.”

Are you anxious to be like Jesus?  Keep trusting him and following and it will happen.

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