Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. 1 John 5:1(NLT)
Her mother was a migrant farm worker who was living in an old car. Vicki was only two and her Mom had run out of money, food and options. She walked into the Food Stamp office in Florida and was turned-down again because “her car” was not an address. What she then said and did (according to the social worker) was reply, Fine; here, you feed her, and walked away.
That was how Vicki came to live with us as a foster child in 1978. Within a short time Elizabeth and I both knew we would adopt this sweet, vibrant young lady into our family. So we began the paperwork, inspections and more, making room in our hearts for yet another child.
God had other ideas; so did the State of Florida. It seems the law on abandonment in that State don’t kick-in for a year. So, just a few days short of 365, Vicki’s Mom returned and wanted her child back. We were heartbroken, but the last we’d heard, Vicki and her Mom were doing well in Texas.
Forty years have not dimmed the imprint of that little one’s smile in our memories. But she was not our child. The law said she belonged to someone else, and, as much as we were willing to open our hearts and home to adopt this little girl with the big smile, we had to give her back.
Nearly abandoned and loved, but not our child.
This is somewhat the essence of John’s sentence about becoming God’s child. Often (incorrectly) someone – even a preacher – will say something like: we’re ALL God’s children. That may be true in one sense, that we are all born in the image of God, and we all experience the providence of God’s care, and there is the loving reach of God that would embrace us, much like (but better than) Elizabeth and I wanted to embrace Vicki as our own.
But there is something which stands between that desire and reality. That something is the law. The law says we are born in sin, and because we all sin, the law condemns us. John says we become God’s child by belief – faith in God that Jesus Christ is His son.
Now that is not a very popular viewpoint, and there is pushback whenever you try to point out that some people are genuinely children of God by faith, and some are not. Many people prefer that, like the Constitution says, we are all equal, we are all equally children of God. But the Scripture isn’t the Constitution, and national pride has little to do with Scriptural truth. So, what do you do with truth? Jesus, Himself pointed out this very fact when the Pharisees argued that they were children of Abraham, making them God’s favored sons. Here’s the hard truth Jesus declared to them:
Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! John 8:42-45(NLT)
The line is drawn in the sand, if you choose to reject the Son, to not-love God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, you don’t have the Father, you’re not a child of God, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise.
Elizabeth and I wanted to welcome Vicki into our home, but she was the child of another. That was a hard truth.
A much more important question with a hard truth we must all face is:
whose child are you?