The significance of being God’s child

It is impossible to separate God’s children from God. This is not a theological statement, but an undeniable fact, unacceptable to ordinary humanity. However, asserting this reality is as dangerous as having caused Jesus’ crucifixion. However, the acerbic treatment ratifies the confirmation of the most important data, ever advanced to humanity.

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God,” They said. (John 10:29-33 NIV).

Jesus was crucified for claiming to be God but enabling us to attain freedom, as to also become God’s children. The disciples, poised to become God’s children, were instructed to appreciate the significance of being God’s children. Their status would be the same as that of Jesus when applying what Jesus taught them.

There are many people claiming to love Jesus, yet gnashing teeth against Jesus’ brothers. The Bible clearly shows that such people are pretenders, as in Christianity for what they can get. When grounded on truth, pretenders are easily identifiable by their rabid hatred of God’s children.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me (John 15:18-21 NIV).

A deceiver always promises more than what can be delivered. Ordinary people are susceptible to deception, as long as attracted by undeliverable promises. Many of the would-be God’s children get trapped in the area of receiving approval from those of this world.

Nevertheless, it is the disapproval by those of this world, that justifies believers as God’s Children. Generally, cowardice keeps most people from becoming God’s children. Stepping out from the group, to obey God cannot be attractive to cowards.

Jesus was hated, yet being the only begotten Son of God. Only after His ascension, were millions rising up, asserting that Jesus is Lord. Hence, even today, there are countless worshippers of Jesus across the world.

Most of them are driven by a caricature of a presumptuous Jesus whose picture would be idolatrously manufactured imaginatively. However, Jesus pointed out that He was not different from His brothers, who are ordinarily ignored.

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’” (Matthew 25:41-45 NIV).

Anyone who had seen Jesus had seen God the Father. It follows that those having seen His brothers would have seen not only Jesus but also God the Father. It should not be surprising that if Jesus was hated and rejected, His brothers should also be hated and rejected. It is perfectly true that those having become God’s children cannot be as sinless as Jesus was sinless.

It is not the physical nature that qualifies God’s children. But it is God’s Spirit, qualifying them to be God’s children. The fact that they are invalidated and despised, does not subtract that they are God’s children. They only need courage and steadfastness in the face of extreme opposition and invalidation.

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they are in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:12-21 NIV).

God’s children are united with Jesus and God the Father. This is different from those advancing the Trinitarian theory, suggesting that God and Jesus are separated from the rest of God’s children. Such theories are advanced by nonbelievers, pursuing theological studies, outside Christ’s instructions. In His humanity, Jesus simplified the way towards salvation, representing Godliness in character and principle.

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”  (John 5:39-44).

There is nothing complicated about Jesus’ teachings, except the hardheartedness of Humanity. Humanity cannot fathom existing outside the physical nature. This makes it impossible to ever accept what Jesus taught, without God’s intervention. Jewish behaviour identifies with the rest of humanity, regardless of background.

The Jews were stuck on Mosaic laws which they idolatrously adopted in God’s place, without realising it. Bible readers may assume that the Jews were more stiff-necked than the rest of humanity. However, one has to read Paul’s epistles to appreciate that those Gentiles were just as stiff-necked.

The Gentiles were conditioned in idolatry. Rather than apply God’s truth, they sought to idolize the apostles. Paul likened their behaviour to infants, appreciating milk, rather than the strong meat. They were so hardhearted as to be unconvinced that they were behaving incorrectly.

 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas, they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 

“In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them (Acts 14:11-18 NIV).

The hardheartedness of humanity makes the idea of Jesus impossible to adopt. Jesus said it had to be God drawing the individual, before accepting His teachings. “No one can come to me, except the Father who sent me, draws him and will raise him up at last day” (John 6:44).

This makes God’s calling appear unachievable, but only because of egotism. God does not force anyone to be His child if not interested in being God’s child. One has to be meek and teachable, to facilitate God’s calling—hence prayer is necessary.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17 NIV).

The saving aspect is not random. Jesus had to die on the cross. God is not choosy, but works with the humble, before sealing the promise. Everyone is granted the opportunity to accept or reject the offer. The only condition is humility. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10 NIV).

The burning question ought to be on the meaning of humility. How does one humble himself before the Lord? Nothing appears complicated, except the quality of having a modest or low self-regard opinion. The opposite of humility is pride. Handling pride looks simple but complicated for humanity.

I suppose my own understanding comes from a condition of poverty and a degraded profile. I shudder to imagine those from upper-class conditions. The honoured of this world can hardly accept humility. However, God could tactically call proud people, by first humbling them.

This could be by striking them with some catastrophe or possibly reducing them to poverty. Although, admittedly, this is mere speculation, as God is the only one vested with knowledge of people’s hearts. But my speculation is Scripturally supported by what appears as supporting that viewpoint.

“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (1 Corinthians 12:6-12 NIV).

Paul shows nothing to boast about when called by God. It doesn’t matter what superior knowledge is obtained, only God deserves the honour. Rejoicing when ridiculed or persecuted signifies God’s presence in one’s life. This is why Jesus said persecution should be attractive.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV).

The significance of being God’s Child has nothing to do with pomposity. It is qualified in humility more than the strings of past achievements. To be God’s child invites troubles, more than good living. When things appear as moving in the right direction, as inviting comfort, God’s child should become worried.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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