Children of God (John 1:6-13)
First Scripture Reading: Isaiah 41:21 - 42:9
Second Scripture Reading: Matthew 3:1-17
Sermon Text: John 1:6-13
As children of God, we have received the highest blessing imaginable. We are not merely tolerated by God, but we are loved with an everlasting love, as a father loves his children and cares for their every need. John expresses this great wonder when he writes, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer argues that while justification is the immediate consequence of Jesus’ death on the cross for his people, it is not the highest blessing of the gospel in the order of salvation. Packer writes, “Adoption is higher because of the richer relationship with God that it involves.” Justification is a legal term that teaches we are declared not guilty because our sin has been imputed to Christ and his perfect obedience has been imputed to us. Justification assures us that our Judge is no longer wrathful toward us. This is wonderful news, but Packer argues that we need to probe deeper. He writes, “But contrast this, now, with adoption. Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as Father. In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection, and generosity are at the heart of the relationship.” Packer concludes, “To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.”
- For review, read John 1:4-5. What kind of life does Jesus have and give? Why is the darkness unable to overcome the Light, and how should this reality affect our daily lives?
- What was John the Baptist’s role in redemptive history according to Matthew 3? What does the word “witness” mean in John 1:6-8? How can we bear witness about the Light?
- According to John 1:11, why did some in Israel reject Jesus? Read and consider the list of woes Jesus speaks against the leaders of Israel in Matthew 23.
- How do we become the children of God according to John 1:12-13? What are the blessings of adoption as explained in Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 12? Do you agree with what J.I. Packer wrote about adoption in the quote above?
- In preparation for next Sunday, read John 1:14-18. What can you recall from your Bible reading about the Tent of Meeting that God instructed Israel to construct? How do you think the Tent of Meeting foreshadowed or pointed to Christ?
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