As any Christian will know, what God wants from human beings is that we become his children.
I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. (Galatians 3:26)
What does it mean to be a child of God? It means:
- Making a lifelong commitment to put God at the centre of our personal universe rather than ourselves.
- Accepting that we are not as good as we would like to think we are, that we cannot earn anything from God and must rely on his willingness to show us undeserved favour.
- A willingness to put God ahead of any and all human relationships.
- Putting our lives in God’s hands.
- Believing God when he promises that there is a better world and a better life to come after this one.
- A willingness to give up opportunities for money or fame or power or revenge.
- Feeling unsatisfied with the world and the ideas that human beings have created for ourselves.
- Love, trust, obedience, willingness to listen, willingness to say sorry when we make a mistake and confidence that we will be forgiven.
- Living each day in a way that demonstrates this commitment is real.
How many of those things could you honestly say describe you?
I have heard it said that while God seeks children, he does not seek grandchildren.
What does that mean?
It means that sometimes there is a need to ask ourselves why we became Christians.
What about you? Was it because:
- You were looking for more than this world can offer?
- You became aware of your weaknesses and failures, and wanted a better way of life?
- You were motivated to emulate the love of God and the example of Jesus?
- Some other reason that meant you were genuinely converted and transformed by what God said and what Jesus did?
Or was it because:
- Your family expected you to become a Christian?
- You were brought up in a church environment where everyone else was doing the same thing?
- You were taught it as a young person and simply never questioned or thought about it?
If so, is your faith your own or is it really your parents’ or your church’s faith? That’s what it means to be a grandchild of God, someone who believes and practices Christianity not because of their own personal understanding or commitment, but because of someone else’s.
God doesn’t want that kind of relationship with you. When Jesus returns to judge the world, he will judge us based on what we as individuals have believed and how we have put it into practice, not what members of our family or our church have done.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
You will not be accepted on the basis of what a family member or friend or church member has done. The only person whose life can save you is Jesus. Your hope lies only in a personal commitment to God through him.