In the Old Testament writings, God is rarely (i.e. less than twenty times) called the Father of humans. However, when Jesus (God in the flesh) arrives on the scene, things change dramatically.
In the gospel letters of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus refers to God as being our Father over sixty times. In the gospel of John, Jesus refers to God as being our Father over one hundred times. Why is this important? It is important because Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a personal relationship with the God of the universe through faith in God’s one and only Son – Jesus the Christ.
By the way, “Christ” is not the surname (i.e. human family name / last name) of Jesus. “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the Jewish word “Messiah”. And, Messiah is the Hebrew word for the promised deliverer/savior of the Jewish people prophesied in the Old Testament. So, in a very real sense, Jesus should be called Jesus the Christ instead of Jesus Christ. However, what really matters is: Have you received and acknowledged Jesus (the Christ/Messiah) as your personal Lord and Savior?
Now that I have so rudely interrupted myself, I shall return to the discussion of the incredible reality that God has voluntarily chosen to enter into a Father and child relationship with every person who has placed their faith and trust in Jesus the Christ for the forgiveness of their sin.
In John 1:10 – 13 we read: “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 (the Jewish people), but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received 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.”
In John 3:3, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
In John 4:24, Jesus says, “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
This is why Jesus said in John 3:6, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised by my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
To say that you are a “born-again Christian” is redundant. If you are “born-again”, then you are a Christian. If you are a Christian, then you are born again. Those two statements mean the same thing. To be a Christian means that you have been transformed from death to life. To be born again means that you are now going to live forever as a child of the living God. To be a Christian means that you are no longer a child of the devil (i.e. see John 8:42 – 47). To be born again means that God is your Father; and, you are now divinely equipped to enjoy a new life which is guided by the power of the Holy Spirit of God who is alive and at work in the body, mind, soul, and spirit of every follower of Christ! (i.e. see Romans 6:1 – 14)
As a Christian, you are a blood-bought child of the King of the Universe. (see 1 Peter 1:17 – 21)
You and I – and every man, woman, and child who chooses to receive salvation through faith in the shed blood of Christ as payment for the penalty of their sins – are now living in an eternal personal love relationship with our heavenly Father. He is the righteous God of the universe; and, we are His children.
As the apostle John has written for us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1 – 3
How about that? Wow! When Jesus appears in the clouds above planet earth (and when Jesus transports us into his heavenly kingdom), He will give to us our new glorified bodies; and, “we shall be like him”!
So, what do we do in the meantime?
The apostle Peter instructs us, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave (the) pure spiritual milk (of the Bible) so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:1 – 3
Peter then goes on to say, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11 – 12
Christianity is not a religion! Please repeat that sentence out loud. “Christianity is not a religion!” Christianity is a one-on-one, personal Father-child relationship with the God of the universe through faith in his Son Jesus the Christ.
If you are a Christian, there is royal blood flowing through your veins. You are a child of the one and only King of all creation! You are an eternal being. You are now a pilgrim who is traveling through the land of the dying; and, you are on a temporary assignment which is preparing you for your eternal home in the land of the living. You are an alien and stranger in this world. You are an ambassador for Christ. And, your citizenship is in heaven.
Remind yourself several times every day that you have royal blood flowing through your veins. Remind yourself daily that you no longer walk according to the flesh. You now walk in accordance with the Holy Spirit of the God of the universe – not in accordance with the ways of our culture. You no longer share the values or the worldview of the non-believers. The non-believers belong to another spiritual family. They belong to their father the devil. (See again John 8:43 written above.) You belong to the family of God.
Everyday, pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven…Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9 – 10
Then turn off the media. Quit listening to the talking heads of our humanistic culture. Start cramming for finals. Read and study the New Testament scriptures. Seek, find, and listen to good, solid biblical teaching throughout your day. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world which is passing away. Instead, discipline yourself to study, learn, adopt, and follow the customs and the behavior of the eternal, heavenly, royal family to which you belong.
Remember! Never forget! You are a child of the living God. You bear His royal image. You bear the seal of the Holy Spirit who now lives within you. Jesus is now in heaven preparing a place for you. And, Jesus has promised that He “will come back and take you to be (with Him) so that where He is, you may be also.” (See John 14:1 – 3)
You think about that! Amen.