A friend of mine recently told me that he had a conversation with someone online who told him that it was possible to become a child of God. He was very interested in this idea and asked me what I thought about it. I explained that, with the girls that we had adopted, I felt that we had just a little bit of understanding of how God brings us into his family.
Since that conversation, he and some of his friends moved to a new place to live, so my wife and I went to visit and I took a few thoughts along with me to share about this idea of being children of God.
The first of those thoughts comes from John 1 where John says this about Jesus:
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John starts out by stating that the created didn’t recognize its own Creator. The one who made everything, who even came in the form of a human being to help us understand Him better, wouldn’t be understood by us. We wouldn’t receive him and accept him for who he was and is.
But there were a small number of people who did see, understand, and believed, and it was those people who are children of God.
I think my friend thought that we meant this in some physical way. That somehow we were saying that God was a physical father. But of course that isn’t what John is saying here. We are all simply everyday humans. We all walk around and do normal things just as anyone else would.
The difference is that we see who Jesus is. We commit our lives to him, and we follow. We do our best to love him and obey him. And because we do this, because we put our faith in him, God gives us a spiritually legal right to be called His children. We are spiritually adopted and brought into God’s family with all of the rights of a child to a Father.