Today, I was driving along when the song No longer slaves by Bethel came on. It was so relevant to the things that had been racing through my mind, that although I had already reached my destination, I decided to keep driving till the song was over! (Not very L is for Lifestyle, for any of you fellow book club members who are reading this…). Anyways, there are so many lines to take from that; ranging from our fears dissipating when we trust in God to being delivered and freed in our new life with Him. However, what I love most (and is repeated over and over again in the chorus) is not only the lines that tell us that we are no longer slaves, but it also continously highlights what we now are- a child of God!!!
Every Wednesday a group of us meet for a Bible study and we have been making our way through a series called What Love Is by Kelly Minter. In this, we have been pulling apart, digesting and discussing the letters of 1,2 and 3 John. I cannot tell you how pertenant its words have been to me lately. There are so many topics we could explore in these books as its many running themes unfold. Nonetheless we cannot help but notice that throughout its verses and chapters, John addresses us, the readers, as beloved and indeed little children.
Ok, so maybe you are like me and are thinking that if someone ever began their sentence by calling me a little child, they would soon come to find out that… well… its not going to go down too well. However, as John uses this title on more than one occasion, we begin to see that it is always exemplified with a Father’s love and in no way, he is implying otherwise. When those words are read, in fact, we should view them with the comfort and awe that we are loved by God and adopted in His family. That as we come to know and love Him, we are invited into something that is much bigger than ourselves and requires a life that begins to speak of what has taken place within. The Father’s love changes us and it calls us to not only say that we love God, but that we are to follow His ways as well.
Based on the texts throughout these three books, here is a list of only SOME of the things that we are or have when we become children of God:
1. We have fellowship with God and we have fellowship with others. 1 John 1.7
2. We are forgiven. 1 John 1.9
3. We have an advocate. 1 John 2.1
4. We have assurance that we know Him. 1 John 1.5
5. We can walk in the light.
6. We can overcome the evil one. 1 John 2.13, 1 John 4.4
7. We are anointed by the Holy One and have knowledge. 1 John 2.20
8. We can know the truth. 1 John 2.21
9. We can have confidence and not shrink in shame. 1 John 2.28
10. We can have hope and be purified. 1 John 3.3
11. We are righteous and are no longer slaves to the sin that entangles us.
12. We can love one another. (Even when its not easy to do!) 1 John 3.11
13. We can lay our requests before Him and know that He hears us! 1 John 5.15
14. We can follow His commands and they are not burdensome. 1 John 5.3
I haven’t even completed all of 1 John but you get the point… there is a lot to describe who we are as children of God and what an awesome provider, protector, carer….. our Father is.
There are some that particular stand out to me and I hold close to my heart. It is what I was reminded of when I listened to that song this morning.
- When I am a child of God and His love is in me- that perfect, perfect love casts out all fear. 1 John 4.18. Those words are comforting, encouraging, strengthening, powerful. They give freedom and they produce fruit. They are a promise that I can cling to in those moments of fear. And we all have them. Fear of the unknown, fear of being hurt, fear of death, fear of loneliness…. you name it. As a child of God though, we don’t have to be a slave or paralysed by it. His love is the only thing that can drive that fear from our hearts and give us a new song to sing. Oh our Father is so worthy!
- When I am a child of God, I abide in Him and He abides in me. In these passages, I have highlighted every time the word abide appears. The text is an array of highlighters now as that’s how many times that we are reminded and called to abide. We remember John 15 and the imagery of the branches and again, we are told to abide- to attach our selves to the branch who is Jesus Christ. As we do so, our Father, the vinedresser, is continously at work- pruning us to produce a fruit. All we are to do is abide in Him. Stay, continue, remain in Him. This is just so comforting. When I don’t know what to do next and all I want to do is to do something! I remain in Him. I love Him and obey Him. I follow His ways and I love others. I lay before Him my requests and I can have confidence that He hears me. I can know His protection and I can seek His guidance. I can trust Him and depend on Him. Because He is our father and we are His children! Wow!
I understand that this is only touching the surface of all that these passages have to offer in their depth and richness of truths. Perhaps it is the platform for future topics and posts. I hope that you are encouraged, not by my words, but by the very words of God in 1,2,3 John. Dig deeper in these promises and truths that tell you who you are, if you love and abide in Him. So that we can sing along to that song that states
I am no longer a slave to fear, for I am a child of God.