“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13
I make no apology for returning to the first chapter of John’s gospel. It’s a Christmas reading. And it is packed with awesome truth about Jesus. And one of the most awesome truths is that through faith in him we become children of God.
It’s awesome because of the comparison between who God is and who we are. God is creator and ruler of the entire universe. To him we are but dust specks. It is amazing to think that we could be that precious to him and have that kind of relationship with him.
It’s awesome because of the closeness of the relationship promised. He doesn’t just forgive us; he doesn’t just promise a great future. It’s not the detached blessing of a monarch bestowing a knighthood or a position of honour. He wants to welcome believers into his family. We wants us to take on his name, his character, to love other believers as much as he loves them. He shares with us, through his Word, his purposes and plans. He shares himself with us, through the Holy Spirit applying the teaching of Jesus into our lives.
How we become children of God is described in different ways in the New Testament. Here in John’s gospel (in chapter 1 and later on, e.g. chapter 3) it’s described as a new birth, being “born again”, being “born… of God.” In other places (e.g. Galatians 4; Romans 8) it’s described as “adoption”, a legal transaction.
However it happens, the result is wonderful, and gives us great assurance. It’s because of Jesus Christ, and it makes us his brothers and sisters. “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)