What does it Mean to be a Child of God? (The Gospel According to John)

Jesus’ popularity grew as He continued with His public ministry. The people were divided: those who believed in Him and those who didn’t.
 
The Jewish leaders continued to test Him and tried to find fault in Him so they can send him to prison. They brought a woman caught in the act of adultery and wanted to trap Him through questions that when answered can be used to accuse Him.
 
Jesus responded by telling them that “… any one of you without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John 8:7). But no one did because they knew they were all sinners and one by one they left. Jesus’ last word to the woman was to go and sin no more.
 
In verse 12, Jesus went on to say “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
 
His teachings and the way he responded to the questions and accusations of the Jewish leaders made them angry because it seemed that they cannot absorb every truth that Jesus tells them. They became deaf and blind to the truth.
 
Before we proceed to verses 31 to 47, let us reflect on what mannerism or characteristics we got from our physical parents. Because whether we like it or not our parents have an influence on us, one way or another.
 
On the spiritual side, let us look into our hearts and ask ourselves:

What does it mean to be a child of God?

Am I really a child of God?

Who is my father?

The Jews claimed that they were the descendants of Abraham and that they had never been enslaved. They were quite proud of being descendants of Abraham and claiming too that the only Father they have is God Himself (v. 41).
 
But Jesus said otherwise; He said that they were not descendants of Abraham, but their father was the devil. The Jews were appalled by what Jesus said, and the whole conversation in verses 31-47 was one of the most heated conversations of Jesus towards the Jews.

There are three lessons that Ms. Heidi Ann learned and would like to share with us as we study chapter 8. May these lessons bring us to check our hearts, our lifestyles, and choices: Do they reflect God’s influence in our lives? How do we show our love for Jesus?

Having godly ancestors/parents does not guarantee our personal spiritual health.

Growing up in a godly family is something special but it does not guarantee that you will become godly yourself. The Jews claimed that they were the children of Abraham.
 
And Jesus acknowledged that they are the physical descendants of Abraham, but He also saw their hearts. He knew what was in the mind of the Jewish leaders at that time.
 
Now, who is Abraham? In Genesis 15, God made a covenant with Abraham, who at that time was already old. God promised them (Abraham and Sarah) a child, their own flesh and blood. He believed in God and this was counted as righteousness.
 
He believed and obeyed God unlike the Jewish people in John 8. They may be physical descendants of Abraham, but they are not spiritual descendants.
 

Life Application:

Believing and obeying Jesus is a personal choice. No one else can do that for us but ourselves.

Ms. Heidi Ann grew up in a Christian home but it was not until at the age of 14 that she knew what being a Christian really is.

Challenge: Have we made that decision to follow Jesus? (John 1:12)

A true child of God loves Jesus and responds to His Word. (v. 42, 43, 47)

“The children of God are inherently characterized by a love for His Son (Jesus)” – John McArthur.

You can’t say that you love God but you do not love Jesus. The Jews claim they love the Father and yet they rejected Jesus, the One whom the Father has sent.
 

Life Application:

We love Jesus.

And we really, really love Jesus.

But, do we love Jesus more than anything else in this world?

How do we gauge our love for Christ?

It is good to check where we are in our relationship with God once in a while.

Another test to see whether a person is a true child of God is how he/she responds to God’s Word.

Think about it like a relationship of a child to their parent/s. Ms. Heidi Ann shares her story about her mom.

Her mom loves her garden. The mother usually asks her children to water the plants every time she goes somewhere.
 
And since the children love their mom, they obey and follow. Ms. Heidi Ann really wants to please her mom because she loves her mom.
 

Life Application:

Are we taking the time to read, study and meditate on the Bible?

Does the Word of God speak to us?

Do we respond to what the Bible is teaching us?

 A good gauge that we are responding to the word of God can be seen in our thoughts, actions, and words. Are we actually obeying the Word of God?

From v. 44, the conversation between Jesus and the Jewish people gets really heated up. Jesus said that their (Jewish people) father was the devil, which outraged the Jewish people.

 The devil was described as a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies. Genesis 3 (fall of man) showed that the devil is a liar and in Genesis 4, Cain both murdered and lied. If God is not our father, then we tend to do what the devil does.

In 1 John 3:9-10, a child of God does not make a practice of sinning, for God is in him. In one’s actions, you can tell if they are God’s children or not.
 
One of the greatest deceptions that the Jews believed in was that they were of God because they were the descendants of Abraham. Sadly though, they are only the physical descendants, not the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
 

Jesus is the truth and in Him, there is true freedom. (v. 31-36)

When Jesus mentioned the Jews being set free, they reacted by saying that they are the descendants of Abraham (which is true) and have never been enslaved by anyone (which was a complete lie), so they don’t need to be ‘set free.  

Jesus was pointing out to them that they are in bondage of sin, of their deception. Only Jesus can give them the freedom that they need.
 

Life Application:

Is there something that we keep on doing, maybe secretly or openly, that we know is wrong and we cannot break free from?

Here is the good news: Jesus is inviting us to abide in Him. Come to Jesus.

Examine your hearts. Observe your actions. Be mindful of your words. Do you reflect the one who influences you? Do you live like a child of God? Is God really, really your Father?
 

Communion

Ptra. Noreen shared a story about a video she saw. A boy with a deformed face was born and his parents removed all mirrors in their house so he would not see his face.
 
And as the boy was growing up, they always told him that he was handsome. By the time that they were able to go out, the people shied away from him because of how he looked.
 
He then realized that he looked different, his face was deformed. This is how we were before we met Christ. We thought that we looked good and we smelled good.
 
But when Jesus came into our lives, the deception was removed. We realized our deformities. And when we know the truth, we no longer believe in the lies of the enemy.

Verses to look up on about communion:  1 Cor 11:23-26, 1 Cor 10:16-17, Luke 22:15-18

Communion is for believers only. If you don’t believe in God if you don’t believe in the Bible, God is saying: do not partake. Communion is part of our worship to God.
 

Why do we do this?

It is to remember what God has done for you. The God whose flesh will be broken and blood will be spilled for our salvation shared this with the disciples.
 
We may not physically experience this now, but we must remember His sacrifice when we hold the piece of bread and the juice (or wine) as we celebrate communion.
 
We need to remember that someone died for us; someone took our place on the cross in order for us to be able to face the God of all gods. Let our hearts be filled with fear, with love, and with thanksgiving for what He has done for us.
 
To declare our common union with Christ. When we do our communion, we are declaring to Christ that nobody is higher than us and nobody is lower than us, we are on the same level. What level is this? We are all sinners.
 
And the only reason why we can face God is that we were forgiven and purified.

When we hold the juice (or wine), let us remember that it was the blood of Christ that has washed us clean from our infirmities.

It is the anticipation of His promise that we will be together with Him in His Father’s kingdom. As we hold the bread and juice (or wine), let this be an assurance that we are forgiven and we have a very bright future in the kingdom of God.

As we celebrate and partake in the communion, let us remember why we do this. We are not feeding the longing of our physical body, but we are eating the longing of our souls.


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