Boletim dos Obreiros

God Is Our Father

 "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!"

(1 John 3:1)

Privileges and responsibilities of the Children of God

 

In August we celebrate the "Day of the Fathers". Paternity has a special importance in the context of the human reality and always leads to the solemn purpose of God when instituting the family, which is fully defined with the presence of the children.

There are no "fathers" without "children". There are no "children" without "fathers"! Read Genesis 1:28. To be a "father" illustrates the honourable privilege of taking part in God's family project and brings serious duties. The same applies to the condition of "children" in this natural context.

In the wake of these considerations I am led to think on another identical relationship, but at spiritual level, far more sublime and of greater dimension: it is that which identifies our God as our "Father", and we as "His children".

It is of incalculable value, granted by the manifestation of the Grace of God through the Redemptive Work effected by Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son (John 1:1-14). The Bible teaches about being a "child of God":

  • It is an exclusive privilege of those who are born again (John 1:12);
  • It results of a "spiritual" operation which has nothing to do with natural birth; the operating agents are the Word of God (incorruptible seed), alive and permanent: 1 Peter 1:23-25; Isaiah 40:6-8 and James 1:10-11) and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16-17, Ephesians 5:1);
  • It is reached by faith (John 1:12);
  • It makes us responsible, before God, as "children of obedience" (1 Peter 1:12) to the "truth" (v.22).

In 1 John 3:1-6 we can identify seven aspects of our condition as "children of God", as follows:

  1. It is the evidence of the great love of God (v.1a) - Our heavenly Father loves us so much that he allows us to be called children of God. "Love" is the ingredient of greatest importance and of greatest efficacy in the paternal attitude with regard to children. What a privilege to be partakers of the love of our heavenly Father! The love of God for us is immeasurable. The Bible exalts it countless times and states that the proof of this love is in the fact that Christ died for us whilst we were sinners (Romans 5:8). John states in the text that our being "children of God" is evidence of His great love.
  2. It is beyond the comprehension of the world (v.1b) - Given that so many people do not know God, they naturally do not understand that we are children of God. This discernment is spiritual and only those who are spiritual can understand what it means to be a "child of God", because we do are not born of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13). About the Spirit, the Lord said: "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:17 - NKJV).
  3. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be (v.2a) - We already are children of God, but we cannot even imagine how all will be later on. Even though the Bible anticipates some aspects peculiar to our eternity with God, which we can already foretaste, much of what awaits us, as children of God, is reserved by Him for our future and sublime eternal experience. How we must long for this near future, beloved children that we are of such a marvellous Father!
  4. We shall be like Him (v.2b) - This expectation must fascinate us! We were made in the image and likeness of God. Sin deprived us of the characteristics of this privileged condition, but as children of God we shall be like Him. A great privilege of the children of God! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 that upon the sound of the trumpet, the dead (sons of God) will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed, because it is necessary that this corruptible body puts on incorruption, and that the mortal body puts on immortality.
  5. We shall see Him as He is (v.2c) - Another incomparable privilege of the children of God! There is nothing better in the relationship between father and child the possibility of permanent contemplation which this has of that. How we long to be able to contemplate personally our heavenly Father! It is no doubt the greatest expectancy of the children of God. We shall see Him as He really is! It is not a remote possibility, it is an absolute certainty! And then, as Paul says, we shall be for ever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
  6. To live in purity just as He is pure (v.3) - This is the serious and without excuse responsibility of the son of God. The reason is stated expressly in the text: "just as He is pure". Our Father is pure. We must therefore manifest purity in our character and in our Christian procedures. (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1 e 1 Peter 1:14-16).
  7. To abide in Him in order not to sin (v.6) - To abide in Him means to maintain intimate and permanent communion with Him and to live in submission and obedience to Him. There is no other way to move sin away from our experience of life! (John 15:5).

"If we are children of God, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17).