google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Gems in the Letter of 1 John - Part 109
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Gems in the Letter of 1 John
Part 109 - 1 John 3:1
The children of God


John said, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” That is quite something to say about us. Our thoughts probably fly immediately to the question of our relationship with the Father God but I want to go off on a slightly different tack. In modern society, particularly in the West, to be a son or daughter of a father is almost all about relationship, but it is not so in all the world, and most probably was not in those days.


When we lived in Pakistan our house was on a big hillside with many houses on it. Water came from a small reservoir on the top of the hill controlled by a guy we called the ‘water wallah’. When he died who was to become the next water wallah? There was no question who that would be – it was his son. And that was how it worked in their society. If father was a cook, the son expected to be a cook; if father was a motor mechanic, his son expected to be a motor mechanic; and so on. In more developed societies things don’t work like that. I was a maths teacher; neither of my sons, though both highly numerate, ever even considered becoming a maths teacher. It is just a different way of living.

John’s society will have been much more like that Pakistani society than my English one. So when he said we are the children of God he was saying something we can easily miss. He was saying that we are to be as much like God in Jesus as we possibly can be because our ultimate destination is going to be where he is, so he says, “what we will be has not yet been made known.” (next verse) And he says many things that strongly suggest that. We are to be born of him (preceding verse). We will suffer the same rejection as Jesus did (second half of the first verse). We have an expectation that we shall grow to be like him (next verse) through the work of the Holy Spirit within our lives. We have an expectation of seeing our elder brother at the end of the age (again next verse).

All that is to be a huge encouragement to us. Do not for a moment believe those who think that, unless you have had an experience of monumental life shaking importance, or an almost out of your skin charismatic event, you are not on the right road towards the Lord. No, you only need to have been born of him, experiencing what he has done to and for you, not what has happened in you, to be a child of God, with your feet firmly on a way that will eventually – we have no idea when or where – lead us to the appearance of the Lord Jesus to us.

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