Tuesday 06 August 2013

Bible Book:
1 John

"See what love the Father has given 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." (v. 1)

1 John 3:1-13 Tuesday 6 August 2013


A scene comes to mind from Peter Jackson's film trilogy ofTolkien's 'Lord of the Rings'...As the situation starts to lookincreasingly dire for the allied men of the West, the elf-lordElrond pays an unexpected visit to the war-camp. He presentsAragorn with the re-forged sword of his ancestor the king and urgeshim to accept his identity as the rightful heir to the throne."Become who you were born to be," says Elrond. From that point on,there's a notable change in Aragorn's power and stature. With thesword, he knows he has to live up to that calling, leading to theirultimate victory.

In yesterday's passage, we thought about God'swonderful love (agapé) as God's defining characteristic, andconsidered how we should grow in reflecting God's perfect love.Today's passage gives us some clues about how that works inpractice, and it's all about accepting our true identity.

God's steadfast love is not just kept for God's own self; it isgiven to us; lavished on us, even! So much so that we are calledGod's children. In fact, that is our new identity: weareGod'schildren. Now, it's not simply about an abstract idea of love, it'sabout a real relationship. Behind this bold statement is theChristian belief that, on the cross, Christ bought back humankind;he redeemed us; he purchased us from the powers of darkness, andGod will now bestow on all who trust in God the new status ofchildren of God. First we were creatures, made in God's image butstruggling to live up to it; Now we're adopted into God's family,and become heirs of God's kingdom (see Romans8:15-17).

But, "the world does not know us".

In Matthew21:33-44, having arrived in Jerusalem in his kingly-yet-humbleprocession, Jesus tells a parable about the son of the landownerbeing abused and killed by the tenants. This became true for Jesusin the days that followed: God's perfect Son. So, today's versestell us, if we wonder why persecution or hardship is coming upon us("supposed to be his children!"), what do we expect when the worldhas never known God? Sometimes we might not feel like heirs of thekingdom, but that doesn't alter the truth that, thanks to Jesus, weare.

First of all, accept your identity. If you've accepted Christinto your life, if you've had your sins forgiven, if you've enteredinto this relationship, freely offered by God, then you ARE a childof God. But there's still more to come. Verses 2 and 3 are allabout this growing in perfect love that we thought about yesterday.Then looking ahead to the future: "when he is revealed, we will belike him, for we shall see him as he is" (v. 2). This sounds veryfamiliar: Paul said, "When the complete comes, the partial willcome to an end… for now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we willsee face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:10, 12). This growing in thelikeness and love of Christ is an important part of the Christianhope. So, John says, if you know this love, and accept thisidentity in faith, and have this hope, then you should want topurify yourself - in other words to live without the damagingthings that drag you down and pollute your soul. In the power ofGod's love, 'Become who you were born to be'.

To Ponder

  • Do you consider yourself a "child of God"? What does that meanto you?
  • In what ways might you consider "purifying yourself" (v. 3) tolive more like the child of God you are in Jesus? What aspects ofour lives might God want to gently cleanse away?
  • Have you ever felt as if the rest of the world doesn'tunderstand you? What frustrations are there in trying to live as afollower of Jesus in an un-Christian world?
Previous Page Monday 05 August 2013
Next Page Wednesday 07 August 2013