Verse for August
2007: Become Children of God
For August 2007,
we are memorizing John 1:12, which focuses on becoming children of God:
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave
power to become children of God. (NRSV)
Children of God.
In one sense, all human beings are children of God. In another sense, we
must become children of God. We do not naturally follow the Word
or Wisdom of God (Jn 1:1, 10-11). In the ancient world of Jesus, being
someone’s child meant being an apprentice of a certain parent. Thus, to
be a child of God means becoming an apprentice or disciple of God’s Word
Who received him.
Not everyone accepts God’s Word or Wisdom (Jn 1:10-11), which is
identified as Jesus in John 1:14. Yet some people receive him. The
phrase, “who believed in his name,” explains what it means to receive
Who believed in his name.
To believe in his name means having faith in all that Jesus stands for
and then to express that faith concretely, since believing and obeying
are parallel (Jn 3:36). Faith is expressed by loving one another (Jn
13:34-35), keeping Jesus’ word (Jn 15:1-11), and doing justice (1 Jn
He gave us.
Being born of God is God’s doing, not ours. John 1:13 explains that
becoming a child of God doesn’t happen by “blood” or “flesh” or “man”.
John 1:13 is a sharp critique of human culture.
The phrase, “not born
of blood,” uses the plural noun, “blood” (haimatōn),
which represents the Hebrew idiom for bloodshed. Hence, children of God
are not born out of bloodshed or violence.
The phrase, “not by
the will of the flesh,” stresses an implicit contrast. The “flesh” (sarkos)
opposes God and represents the world of human culture and corruption.
Thus, children of God are not born of this world, but from another world
that lies in sharp contrast to this one.
The phrase, “not by
the will of man,” uses the singular noun, “man” (andros), which
refers to a male or husband. In this way, patriarchal power is dismissed
as irrelevant. Children of God are not born through the power of
heredity, like the Roman overlords or Jewish leadership of Jesus’ time.
May the word
of Christ dwell in you (Col