Summary: Knowing who we are in Christ is vital. Without it, we can be confused, lost, and have no meaning and purpose in our lives, and therefore, fail to accomplish God's plans for us. This is the fourth sermon series on "Our Identity in Christ."
Many in the younger generation suffer from identity confusion. When we ask them “Who are you?” they cannot answer. They do not know where their value comes from. Some even question the most basic things about themselves, like those who suffer from gender dysphoria and do not know whether they are male or female. A few days ago, I watched a dialogue between Jordan Peterson, a very bright psychoanalyst, and Abigail Shrier, the author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” They were concerned with what scientists call the epidemic that has been going on, especially among girls. And sadly, therapists in Canada and some States in the US are no longer allowed to try to treat this dysphoria but are forced to agree with whatever the patient feels about themselves.
As I said before we have to know who we are. Our children should know who they are. Otherwise, they will be confused and lost in this secular, atheist, chaotic and confusing world. Therefore, today we will continue the sermon series on the importance of having the right self-identity in Christ. We have learned that first, we are humans, created in God’s image. So, we are much more valuable than animals! We are God’s best creation. Second, we are sinners who need God’s forgiveness. Third, we are forgiven and loved by God. And now fourth is “We are children of God.”
Some Christians wrongly believe that everyone is a child of God. They think because human beings are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), therefore, all humans are all His children. The Bible says no. Every human being is designed by God and loved by Him, as we have learned before. But because of our sin, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says we live under the tyranny of Satan, the god of this world. In John 8:44, Jesus told the Jews who did not believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Not only them, but all humans are also actually enslaved by sin and live to follow its rules (John 8:34). Sin separated humans from the holy God. Our sin must be forgiven, and our sinful natures restored before we can have fellowship with God and become His children.
I. Who can be children of God? Let us read John 1:12-13. ”Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” These verses explain that only those who receive Jesus in their hearts as their Lord and Savior and believe in His name are given the right by Jesus to become children of God. So, children of God are not born naturally but born of God. Jesus taught that becoming children of God means we must experience the new birth (John 3:3). In other words, we can only become His children when we are adopted by Him. Paul says in Eph 1:5, “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
II. What are the marks of children of God?
a. They are new creations. 2 Corinthians 5:17 describes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” To be a child of God means our old sin nature is replaced with a nature that wants to please the Lord. We still sin (1 John 1:8), but we have “an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
b. They do what is right and love other brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:10 says, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” John is not referring here to legalists who work to try to earn God’s favor (Titus 3:5). He is describing the life of someone who has truly received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The life of a child of God will be radically different from the life of an unbeliever. A child of God has a desire to live in a way that pleases the heavenly Father, a life characterized by love (1 Corinthians 10:31).
c. Their lives are led by the Spirit. Romans 8:14 - "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” A child of God is no longer a child of the devil and no longer plays in the devil’s backyard. God sets about transforming His children through the power of the Holy Spirit, and they begin to take on a family resemblance. Paul says in Phil 2:14-15 – “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” If we do not begin to look like our Heavenly Father in word, desire, and action, we are most likely not His.