1 John 3:1-7
Children get their basic approach to life from their parents. They inherit their features. They mimic their behaviour. They get their security and sense of identity from them. They are usually nurtured and guided, loved and cherished by their parents. To be called a child of God can mean all of these things: reflecting God’s attitude, characteristics and behaviour; sense of security, identity, dependency and belonging. It signifies a very special relationship. If Jesus is the Son of God then those who, through faith, are united to Christ are also children of God. Potentially all people are children of God, but it is those who live in this special kind of relationship with God who actually are the children of God, remembering that the key thing here is relationship. It is a relationship based on trust or faith and expressed as love: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). Our experience of love within the parent-child relationship gives us an image to use in our attempt to describe our very special relationship with God experienced through Jesus Christ. The Gospel invites people everywhere to live in this relationship, a relationship based on God’s love for us to which we are invited to respond with love in the form of devotion, loyalty, obedience and trust. Worship becomes an expression of our love for God in response to God’s love for us. Being drawn into this relationship with God we cannot but be drawn into God’s love for other people and for all creation. That is a test of whether we are actually living in the parent-child relationship with God – our concern and compassion for others, our work for justice and peace, our respect for the environment.
- What does it mean to you to be called a child of God?
- What difference would it make to our church services if we approached worship as the expression of our love for God responding to God’s love for us?
- Relationship is the key: what makes for a strong and healthy relationship with God?
- Why should our relationship with God be linked with our relationship with other people?