Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
“All who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” What does it mean to be a child of God? It means, first of all, you have a sense of belonging and with belonging comes a sense of identity. It means that you belong to God and to God’s family. People get an understanding of who they are from their upbringing and from the people around them, but as a child of God you get your basic understanding of who you are from God and your relationship with God – accepted, forgiven, embraced, challenged, shaped, equipped, tasked. Secondly it means having a family likeness. In the way that you live you reflect something of the character of God as made known to us in Jesus; for example you forgive others in the same way that God forgives you. Your love and respect for other people is like the love and respect that God has for them. You share God’s concern for peace and justice in the world. Thirdly being a child of God means that you enjoy a responsible freedom. To put it in the language of the first century AD you are a son or daughter in the household as distinct from being a slave. You do not live under the externally-imposed discipline of God-given rules and regulations, but under the self-imposed discipline that comes with grace and acceptance. Joy and peace has supplanted fear and guilt in your relationship with God. And fourthly to have a sense of being a child of God is to have that same sort of sense of security and peace that a little child has in the arms of a loving parent. Then how does one become a child of God? By faith. You are a child of God: accept it and live as a child of God. Of old, the people of Israel understood themselves to be the children of God by birth, but the followers of Jesus came to realize that becoming a child of God did not come about by being born into a particular nation or people, but by faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of God’s great love.
- What does it mean to you to be the child of your parents?
- What does it mean to you to be the child of God?
- With privilege comes responsibility. What responsibilities do you have as a child of God?
- Which of the four experiences described above in answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a child of God?” is most important in your experience?