Why We Are Called Children of God

The third chapter of John 1 begins, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don';t recognize that we are God';s children because they don';t know him” (1 John 3:1).

The theme of believers being children of God is repeated throughout the Bible and is especially prevalent in 1 John. In that epistle, John repeatedly refers to his readers using the obvious term of love and affection: “dear children.”

John wanted his readers to know that as Christians we weren';t just saved from going to hell, but we were also given the privilege of being called God';s children, a point he also made early in his gospel (John 1:12–13).

The apostle Paul echoed this theme of the loving Fatherhood of God when he wrote, “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). The wordAbba implies a familiar, loving father/child relationship similar to the English word Daddy. (See also Romans 8:15.)

God did that out of a love that fallen, sinful humanity can';t fully grasp. It is in many ways a complex love, but it is also simple in many ways, too. It is a love that:

  • moved God to reach out to a lost and sinful world (John 3:16)

  • was given to us directly through Jesus Christ (John 15:9)

  • is radiated out of us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)

  • is a source of comfort to the afflicted (2 Corinthians 1:3–6)

  • existed before we even knew God through Christ (Romans 5:8)

  • causes God to discipline His children (Hebrews 12:1–13)

  • These are just a few examples of what God';s love for His people really looks like. There are dozens and dozens of other examples and descriptions of God';s love of those He refers to as His children in the Old and New Testaments.

    As you study the love of God in the Bible, you';ll find that it is a love that comes with a variety of rights and privileges. And it is also a love that comes with some responsibilities, all of which God empowers us to carry out as we demonstrate His love to the world around us — just like Jesus did so perfectly.

    Study Questions

    What does God call those who belong to Him?

    Why don';t people in the world understand that believers are actually God';s own children?

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