Summary: Our identity in Christ is very important. We can attribute our self worth to various things but it needs to come from how God sees us and what he has said we are. One of the things God has called us is his child. But what does that mean?
WHAT AM I? (part one)
INTRODUCTION: A couple of weeks ago I preached on how we are the bride of Christ. I got to thinking about how else the bible describes what we are in Christ. Our identity in Christ is very important. We need to see ourselves in the truth of what God has declared us. We can call ourselves many things. We can see ourselves in various ways and view ourselves through various lenses. We can attribute our self worth to various things like our job or education. Or we can attribute our self worth to people; whether through how they see us or in the sense of our connection to them. As a Christian our self worth and sense of value need to come from how God sees us and what he has said we are. One of the things God has called us is his child. But what does it mean to be a child of God?
1) I am born again. Not everyone is a child of God. Everyone is a creation of God but not a child of God. We become his child through faith in Christ. Gal. 3:26-27, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
We don’t become part of God’s family until we put our faith in his Son Jesus and trust in him for our salvation. We are not natural children of God-only Jesus is. Jesus was the only begotten son of God. We are God’s spiritual children.
John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who received him [Jesus], 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.”
A couple of chapters later in John 3:3 Jesus told Nicodemus that we must be born again. He said in vs. 6, “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit”.
As a newborn baby is pure and innocent we too are reborn-pure and innocent through Christ. We are given a new spirit, a new hope, a new future. We are entering into a new world; previously unknown to us. We are entering into a new life-the spiritual life-full of new opportunities and new experiences. Being a child of God means that I am born again.
2) Growing up. Just as a literal baby is born into the world with the need to learn so it is with us. We are reborn with the need to learn all the ways to live the spiritual life. We need to learn the ways of God and we need to learn to put into practice the commands of God.
As a literal baby grows and matures, reaching milestones on their way to adulthood so it is with us as spiritual children. We start making wise decisions and we develop a new value system. We start discerning between good and evil; between what is false and what is true.
This all contributes toward our spiritual growth and maturity. But, we have to start out as babies. And, like a baby, we need to start out by drinking milk. 1st Pet. 2:2-3, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
A baby doesn’t have any problem letting you know when it’s hungry. We are to be like that (no matter what age you are). We are to crave God’s pure word, drinking in all the wonderful nourishment it contains. God’s word is awesome in that it appeals to every Christian at every level of maturity.
As a baby, we need to focus on learning the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We need to understand what the bible is and how it came to be. Learning about the importance of going to church. Learning about prayer and about giving and about serving. We are to grow in our understanding of faith and grace and we are to grow in our understanding of God and Jesus. 2nd Pet. 3:18 says that we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, like a child, we are too eager to grow up. When we’re younger we always want to be older. We’re always focused on what the older kids got to do. The same can be true for the spiritual child. We see those who are more mature and we want to understand like they do. We want to know the bible like they do. We come across passages in scripture that we don’t understand and we get frustrated. Just like a baby progresses from milk to baby food and on to solid food so it is with us. Giving a baby steak and potatoes isn’t a good idea-he’s not ready for it; his digestive system can’t handle it. It’s no different for us. Trying to digest the meatier things in scripture too early on will mess up our systems. When we’re older and more mature we can move on to solid food. As God’s child we need to grow.