The most powerful title anyone can be given is “child of God.” This is not some Hallmark greeting card cliche to make one feel better about depressing circumstances, nor is it an encouraging spiritual energy boost to stimulate a person for a short time. This title is the most life transforming reality one can experience. From the beginning of your salvation to the life everlasting, God is making rebellious children of the Devil into sanctified children of God. Here is a wonderful passage of Scripture, read it carefully and we will discuss it a bit.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1.3-6
Before God created a single thing, the plan of redemption resided in His mind and every believer who has existed was chosen by His good and just free will. Much like the process of adoption in America, the child does not choose her parents, rather the parent chooses the child. From before the world was founded, God chose His children, He adopted His sons and daughters. God adopted us in Christ, because it is only through Christ’s payment on the cross can we be called children of God. Christ is the ultimate older brother. Read Galatians 4.1-7 and Romans 8.12-17.
Why were we chosen? So that “we should be holy and blameless before him.” The only way we can be holy and blameless before God is if we are in union with Jesus. Jesus intercedes on our behalf before the Father, so that we can be His people. But why be His people? “To the praise of his glorious grace.” The reason God adopts us as His children is twofold: for His glory, and for our joy.
Being a child of God means that your entire life is reorganized to the priorities of your heavenly Father. The Father knows best. He knows your needs and your joys, and being His child is for our ultimate good. But God’s goodness usually runs in the opposite direction of the world’s version of good. To this Joel Beeke, in his book Heirs with Christ, writes, “Adoption into God’s family means that we must be willing for Christ’s sake to endure being misunderstood, unwanted, despised, even hated, by the world, all the while striving to give no unnecessary offense to the world.” Romans 8.16-17 agrees, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” We, as children of God and heirs with Christ, must suffer at the hands of the world so that, like Christ, we may be glorified with him.
A great professor of mine would usually say to us, “Live into who you are!” He meant by this that if we are children of God we must be living like it. He would recall for us this passage in Colossians:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1.9-14.
As children of God we ought to strive after “the knowledge of [our Father’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,” so that as daughters and sons of the Most High we may “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” which is no less than “pleasing him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” If we are not consistently pursuing our Father through the Word, we will never know what it means to be His child. As children of God, we will suffer, but we also have access through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to the Father’s power “according to his glorious might” so that, like our Elder Brother, Jesus, we may have “all endurance and patience with joy” and that we may do something that seems ludicrous to the world, namely, “giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Through Christ, God’s Son, we are counted as citizens of heaven, holy and blameless, righteous and justified, redeemed and forgiven.
Child of God…live like it.