Summary: From series in 1 John
“A Chip Off The Old Block” I John 3:1-12
One of the strangest moments in life is the day that you happen to glance down and at the end of your arm you suddenly realize that someone has taken your hand and replaced it your parents. The shock of that moment is hard to describe. I remember the day that it happened to me, I had to do a double take, and even when I did that it didn’t go away – what used to be my hands had now become my fathers.
The second strangest day in your life is when you are talking (discussing, correcting, teaching, arguing what ever you want to call it) to your own children and suddenly you hear your mother’s voice coming out of your mouth. When you start saying things that you swore you would never, never, never say to YOUR children. It is in those moments that we suddenly realize we have become our parents. That even if we struggle not to be, there will be traits that have been indelibly etched into our own persona.
It is a truth that is inescapable. Your heritage, your lineage will have a real and distinct reflection on who you are and what you become. I know there are attributes of our earthly parents that we might never want to reflect, we will spend a great deal of effort and energy in order to overcome those things. But there will always be a “birthmark” of sorts that link us back to the one to whom we belong.
And John is describing here for us this same sort of connection – but on a grander, more significant scale. If you recall the past few weeks you will remember that John has refereed to this church as “little children.” Over and over again he has called the Believer – children. But in chapter 3 verses 1-3 he does something unique, it is no longer “MY CHILDREN,” – He refers to “we” and “us.” He says that WE (himself included) are children of God. And he goes on further to say that since we are children of God there are certain marks that must begin to exhibit themselves as we take on the likeness of our Father.
You need to understand that if you are a Believer – then what John describes here is not some futuristic adoption process, but that it is only because of God’s unearthly, unequaled, unique and unusual love that -
We are not MERELY CALLED children of God, we ARE children of God. (verse 1)
I want you to take a pen and underline the word ARE in your bibles, in verse 1 and in verse 2. Its ok you can. John emphatically repeats this thought. That while you may not fully understand what it means to be a child of God it will not make you any less adopted. Our lack of fully knowing who we are, does not negate what we are, because the adoption is not dependent on us.
I know a young man who through fate was adopted into a particular family. He was raised as their very own, never wondering or being concerned about his first birth. It never occurred to him that he was any less the man’s son as his brother. Even when he found out later in life that he had been adopted it did not change in his mind the fact that he was truly a son to his adoptive father. He knew where he came from but he knew also to whom he belonged. Family, you may remember where you came from, but that does not change the fact that if you are adopted you ARE HIS child. Not “will be” but YOU ARE… if you accepted.
John goes on to say that we really won’t fully understand what that looks like, that is- that the realization won’t happen until we come until we stand face to face with our Father – but in that is the unique fact that -
We ARE and yet we are BECOMING. (verse 2) – Not children but like our Father.
Turn in your bibles to Philippians 1:6 and follow along with me (read 1:6) - What John is saying in verse two is the same thing. When he writes - it has not appeared yet but when He comes we will be just like Him. So while we ARE children we are becoming, being “perfected” as Paul would say, to look like our Heavenly Father.
Being the child, being adopted into God’s family is not dependent upon you. BUT growing and maturing as His child, with Godly attributes (the birthmarks) is something you assist in. And just like the things you do in your physical self will reflect things about your earthly parents and your heritage, as you grow as a Believer you should begin to reflect the attributes of your Heavenly Heritage, your Father’s likeness.