Child

I live forgiven as a dear child of the Father

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Read: 1 John 2:12-14

I am writing to you dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2:12)

Reflect:

Growing up in a feminist culture, I am tempted to grumble at the lack of female nouns in these three verses. But women like me are addressed here, under the descriptor “children”. Should I take offence at such diminution? Never!

John clearly holds his “children” dear and close to his heart. So far in his letter, John has referred to his readers as “my dear children” (2:1) and “my friends” (2:7).  I too am John’s dear child because he proclaimed the gospel to me through his writings: in his Gospel, in his letters and in Revelation. I am John’s dear spiritual child, his offspring of faith. This is certainly nothing of which to be ashamed or dismayed.

Too, I am more than John’s faith-child, I am a child of God. I am not just John’s dear child, I am God’s dear child. Jesus has revealed the Father to me (John 10:38, 14:9) so that I might know God the Father (2:14) as his own adopted child (Galatians 4:4-5). His Spirit has taught me to call him “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6-7).

And then, what John says of me, God’s dear child, is immensely precious: My sins have been forgiven on account of the name of Jesus Christ. O what joy!

The knowledge of my guilt has been building from reading the last one-and-a-half chapters. Do I really walk in the light (1:7)? Do I truly live as Jesus did (2:6)? This guilt is washed away by the truth that my sins have been forgiven in Jesus’ name.

No, I do not always walk in the light of God. I do not constantly live as Jesus did. That is why I need Jesus.

But, Jesus has been faithful and he has ensured the forgiveness of my sins. He has done this through his identity (“name”) as “Word of Life” (1:1), granting me “eternal life” (1:2). Through Jesus, the Word of Life, I have been made acceptable to enter into the presence of my heavenly Father. Hooray!

Crux:

I live forgiven as a dear child of the Father through Jesus, the Word of Life.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty, Dear Abba Father,

Hallowed be your name!

May your name be great and sacred in all the earth. May your name be revered and worshiped by all people. May we no longer blaspheme, but know and rejoice in your name.

Thank you for your grace to me extended through Jesus, the Word of Life. As Peter said, “To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.” I have none other but you. You forgave my sin and in that moment granted me eternal life. So though my flesh might die, my soul shall live as a new creation forever with you as your child.

I praise your name, O Word of Life, Jesus Christ.

Please grant me opportunities today to share the good news that in your name is forgiveness; that you love us as dear children; that in knowing Jesus we may know you, God my Father.

Amen.

Fellowship

I have fellowship with Christ and his Church through John’s words

Read: 1 John 1:1-7

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

If we walk in the light, as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Reflect:

John, together with the other apostles, was an eyewitness to Jesus Christ. John names him “Word of Life… the life… the eternal life.” John and the other apostles proclaimed what they had seen and heard, testifying about Jesus just as Jesus had predicted they would with the Spirit’s help (John 15:27).

It is through hearing/reading and believing John’s proclamation that I and other Christians have fellowship with John. We have become fellows, sharing something in common; or rather, sharing someone in common. Through John’s witness I have fellowship with God the Father and with God the Son, a truly amazing thought.

This fellowship extends to the whole church as we “walk in the light.” 1 John 1:5 tells me, “God is light” so this gracious fellowship extends to the church as we live godly lives. Yet it is not my godly life that makes me pure and sin-free; this is what the blood of Jesus, shed for me, has achieved: to cleanse me from my sin.

Crux:

I have fellowship with Christ and his Church through John’s faithful proclamation of what he saw and heard.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

It continues to amaze me that you should choose to make a way for there to be fellowship between us, for plain ordinary me to have a relationship with you, the God of the Universe. Especially on days like today, when it has been almost a week since I last spent time privately meditating on your word in a deliberate effort to deepen our relationship. You never went away from me, waiting patiently for me to open the covers of my Bible and listen again to your word. Forgive me for only meeting with you in public, with your people, and not in private, just the two of us.

Thank you for choosing me and calling me, for making a way for us to have fellowship through the incarnation of your Son and through the apostles’ faithful proclamation of the truth about what they saw and heard: Jesus Christ.

Thank you for revealing yourself: God, you are light and in you there is no darkness! Thank you for relaying this through the apostles.

LORD, You are light: truth, beauty, purity, perfection, excellence, illumination, instruction. You are wondrous in all of your ways.

May I walk in your light all my days. Thank you for the blood of Jesus, which purifies me and sanctifies me from all my sin.

Amen.

Father

God the Father is now my Father

Read: John 20

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17)

Reflect:

In this gospel, God the Father is mentioned about 100 times. Always, up to this point, Jesus has spoken of him as “the Father” or, more intimately, as “my Father”. In his prayer (John 17), Jesus addressed God as “Father… Holy Father… Righteous Father.” As narrator, John the evangelist uses the words “the Father” or “his Father” to refer to God.

But here – and only here – Jesus refers to God not only as “my Father” but also as “your Father.” Jesus’ death on a cross and his resurrection from the tomb have changed the very fabric of the universe. No longer is God removed from his people: he is their Father, our Father, my Father, your Father.

Jesus accomplished the adoption of an entire kingdom, bringing me and millions of others into the family of God, so we may cry to God with the Spirit’s help, “Abba Father! Dearest Dad!”

I am no longer separated from God by the expanse my sin created and kept between us. Now, Jesus Christ is my brother and I am his sister. God the Father is my Father and I am his daughter. And just as Jesus ascended to be with his Father, so, one day, shall I.

Crux:

God the Father is now my Father!

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are Jesus’ Father and you are my Father. This is immeasurably precious to me.

Abba, Dad, you have chosen me and called me to follow; you have adopted me and appointed me to belong. You set your heart of loving-kindness, grace, mercy and compassion upon me. You sought me and fought for me and bought me with Christ’s blood.

Now I am yours, your child, your daughter, forever more. I belong to you and can never be taken from your family. There will be no other family for me ever.

I belong to your family:
You, holy and righteous Father, are my Father.
You, dead and risen Son, are my brother.
You, wise and true Spirit, dwell within my spirit.

Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for winning me. Thank you for welcoming me into your family, the very family of God.

May I always live as a true daughter who cherishes her Father’s love and lives to love him.

Amen.