Children of God

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godchildren born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
(John 1:10-13)

Fully God and fully man condescending to silently grace the world with His presence, the Creator paid a visit to His creation. Taking our nature upon Himself, Jesus humbly dwelt among us.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:6-11
The fullness of the Godhead in bodily form left a throne room and place of glory and bliss to enter into the misery, melancholy, and mayhem of this world brought on by the poor choice of sin–a world where darkness reigns and where Satan waves his withered hand promising all, yet delivering none. For a time, Jesus surrendered His right of deity to manifest Himself visibly to a fallen world.

Indeed the light came to shine in the darkness. Yet we are told in our verse for today that “the world did not recognize him”. The world and everything in it that He had created! In fact, this world rejected Him. Isaiah prophesized this rejection of Jesus in the book which bears his name:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:3-4)

And yet, Jesus counters graciously with a loving “all.” “All” is such an inclusive word is it not? “All” who would receive Jesus; “all” who would believe in Him; “all” who would come to Him. Indeed “all” who would put their faith in Him would become children of the Great I AM!

What an unspeakable privilege that we, mere flesh and blood, mere dust of the ground, can become children of the King! How lavishly He has loved us! Oh! What great love is this!

“The privilege of adoption is entirely owing to Jesus Christ; he gave this power to those who believe in his name. The Son of God became a Son of man, that the sons and daughters of men might become the sons and daughters of God Almighty.”
-Matthew Henry

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 Christ appears, we shall be like him, and we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

Take It to Heart

“To those who believed in his name” is far deeper than simply knowing what Jesus is called. The word translated “name” is from the Greek word onoma meaning “title, reputation, fame; implying authority, dignity, used to indicate the character described by the name or identification with the person bearing the name” (Hebrew Greek Key Words Study Bible New Testament Lexical Aids).

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
-John 6:37

Simply put, believers bearing His name are to bear His character. Just as we bear resemblance to our earthly families, we, as children of God, are to bear resemblance to our heavenly Father. Paul gives us a glimmer of what this should look like in his letter to the Colossians:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:5-14)