Why would you go there? That was a question I received from several people as we were planning our Summer vacation to Arizona. Why go were the temperatures reach 110 plus, almost every day? Because we have family there, that’s why.
When the Apostle Paul was warned about going to Jerusalem, he went anyway. Why go where he knew the was danger and he could be harmed? Because there was family there, that’s why! Actually, Paul didn’t have blood relatives there, but he did have fellow believers in Jesus who are the family of God. Plus, there were potential new family members as he preached the gospel and people believed in Jesus.
In John Chapter 1 we read about Jesus coming into the world as the true light that shines into the whole world, and how even though Christ created the world, the world did not receive him. But then John says these powerful words.
John 1:12-13 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John tells us the truth of relationship with God. That whoever receives Jesus, by believing in his name, they become a child of God. These are not blood relatives. But like the Apostle Paul going to Jerusalem, these are those who are related to God and related to other believers through the mutual faith they share.
John tells us that those who receive Jesus and believe in his name are born again, but not of blood. In other words, although there is no DNA tie, they are related to Jesus but not by the will of the flesh. That means it’s not a ritual that brings this new birth, not baptism nor conformation. Nor does this happen by the will of man, so being born of God has nothing to do with your parent’s decision to have you baptized or dedicated. Being a child of God is by faith alone, in Christ alone.
While it’s popular to say, “we’re all God’s children,” that is not a biblical truth. While it is biblical to say, “we’re all God’s creation” and “we’re all created in God’s image,” the fact of the matter is that we become a child of God when we trust in Jesus, and do what John tells us, we receive him, and believe in his name.
So, let’s define those terms. To receive Jesus means that you trust in the sacrifice he gave on the Cross. To believe in his name, means you believe all that he said and that he is the way to become a child of God.
I encourage you to think about these things. Take time to read the first three chapters of the Gospel of John and read it with an open heart, taking it personal, as if it’s speaking to you. See what God reveals to you and seek out a Bible teaching church family where you can learn more about faith and being a follower of Jesus.