Children of God: The Invaluable Nature of Our True Identity

Apr 14, 2024 – 3rd Sunday of Easter | Acts 3:11-21, 1 John 3:1-7, Luke 24

The Devastating Impact of Identity Loss

Our identity is a precious and fundamental aspect of who we are. It goes beyond mere possession; it defines us. Losing our identity can be a devastating experience, leaving us with a profound sense of emptiness and disconnection. Identity theft poses a real threat, not only robbing us of our reputation and assets but also eroding our sense of belonging. It's not just about losing material possessions; it's about losing ourselves.

There is another kind of loss that can be even more disorienting - when we don't know who we are at all. This goes beyond a phase of self-discovery. It is a true identity crisis. Imagine waking up with total amnesia, unable to recognize your name or surroundings. This loss is not just about memory. It encompasses the very essence of who you are. Your past, present, and future become a blur, and you find yourself becoming a mystery even to yourself. This is a fate that many face with Alzheimer's disease, where the person they once were slowly fades away.

Losing our identity in the worldly sense is daunting, but what about losing our true identity in God? Without that connection, life loses its eternal dimension and purpose. We may begin to feel like products of chance, with no divine purpose guiding us. 

The secular worldview often reduces life to the pursuit of immediate desires, with death looming as the ultimate end. In such a bleak existence, people may feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Our True Identity as Children of God

There is hope in realizing our true identity as children of God. This truth grounds us in purpose and belonging. The words of John remind us of this blessed identity as God's children, destined to be like Him. 

Our true identity as children of God is not something earned or achieved; it is a love-filled identity freely given to us by God's grace. This truth transforms our perspective, giving us a sense of worth and purpose that goes beyond material concerns.

Can you hear those words? You are children of God! What an incredible identity that is. Belonging to God's family is the ultimate privilege. It signifies that our origin is rooted in God. 

The Apostle explains in his gospel that our status as God's children is not determined by our physical birth, even if we were born to Christian parents. Like everyone else, we were born as sinners, estranged from God due to our inherited condition from Adam. Nor did we become children of God by our own decision. 

It is through faith, as Scripture teaches, that we come to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And this faith is a gift from God, brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit. John clarifies that we are children of God because we were born of God's will, not our own or anyone else's. This truth should bring immense comfort and assurance.

The Unconditional Love of God

Our true identity as children of God is not accidental or contingent on something we did or said. Imagine how precarious it would be if that were the case. Thankfully, it is God's grace that called us through the Gospel, enlightened us with His Spirit, and led us to faith in Jesus. 

Through holy baptism, God granted us rebirth, transforming us from children of hell to children of heaven. Reflecting on the depth of love displayed by God the Father in lavishing this identity upon us, we understand that it is not a conditional or transactional love. It is not based on our own merits or reciprocity. Rather, it is an intentional and sacrificial love - Agape in Greek - where God sacrificed His Son to redeem and adopt us as His own.

As children of God, we have divine connections. Our Father is none other than the Almighty God, the Creator of all things, the eternal Father of Jesus Christ. Since we are begotten of Him, our true home is with Him. Jesus is not just a historical figure but our eternal brother, and we share in His spirit. 

Paul affirms, we are co-heirs with Christ, inheriting everything that belongs to Him. Earthly acclaim or recognition becomes inconsequential because we are royal members of God's eternal family. 

Reflecting on the unparalleled access our true identity as children of God grants us, we realize that many doors are closed to those without the right connections or clearance.  As children of God, we have unrestricted access to Him and His presence. In Jesus, we stand in perpetual grace, as He taught us when He instructed us to pray boldly, "Our Father who art in heaven," just as a dear child speaks to their beloved father.

Challenges and Trials: Eternal Privileges for Believers

Being a child of God comes with eternal privileges. However, there are moments when these privileges do not feel evident in the present. The world can often be hostile to those who belong to God. John points out that the world does not recognize us because it is veiled by deception and sin. 

Consequently, instead of offering privilege, the world can bring pain. It is essential not to be disheartened by the world's failure to appreciate our true identity. We must remember that the world does not know God, and spiritual discernment is necessary to understand God's kingdom.

The world's inability to acknowledge our true identity should not deter us. On the contrary, it serves as a testament to our status as God's children. The world's ignorance of our true identity does not diminish our blessings. As Peter mentions, enduring suffering for the sake of Christ is a cause for rejoicing because it aligns us with the glory of God. Therefore, we should not be ashamed if we face insults or challenges because of our faith.

Currently, we may not bear the visible marks of heavenly glory, such as white robes or crowns. We still struggle with our mortal nature in a sinful world. However, we must remember that this is temporary. God's Word and the Holy Spirit confirm our identity as His children, regardless of worldly recognition. When Christ returns, He will manifest Himself fully, and all sin and its consequences will be eradicated. We will be reunited with our Eternal Father, adorned in Christ's righteousness.

Behold God’s Glory: Our Ultimate Ambition and Purpose

Our highest aspiration should be to behold God's face in His glorious essence, transcending the earthly experiences we have now. This is the pinnacle of joy and the essence of heaven itself. As Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The psalmist echoes this sentiment in prayer, expressing the desire to see God's face and be satisfied with seeing His likeness. Even Job, amidst suffering, yearned to see God, believing in a future where he would witness God with his own eyes.

Dear friends in Christ, this heavenly identity defines us and promises a glorious end as children of God. No worldly recognition or status can compare to being a child of God. Challenges and trials cannot alter our true identity as God's beloved. Similarly, worldly possessions pale in comparison to the inheritance secured for us through Christ. 

The greatest privilege we have is to see God as He is, finding joy and comfort in our true identity as His children. This pursuit, driven by our faith and for His glory, is our ultimate ambition and purpose in life.

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