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 1:12-13]
who we are: children of God
born of the Spirit, we are awakened from sleep, given new breath in our lungs, given a new heart to love God’s name, new eyes to see His beauty, a new purpose to bring Him glory, and a new name. we now bear the name of Jesus. we have died to worldliness, died to our fleshly desires, and are freed to do everything for His name’s sake!
and whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. [colossians 3:17]
what it takes: receive him and believe in his name
this kind of receiving and believing is not simply lip service. not just an acknowledgement of true facts. the demons also acknowledge these things, and yet they stand condemned. true recipients of the forgiveness and grace of Christ Jesus will receive in such a way that causes them to bow themselves low in a life of joyous, humble adoration of who He is. true belief in His name will lead to a life that clings to His ways, running to His forgiving arms every time we fall, submitting to His authority when we don’t understand, and banking on His steadfast love and justice when we are faced with our own sin. God does not adopt us into his family and then allow us to stay in foster care with another. he brings us in, draws us near to His very own heart, and teaches us the most satisfying ways of His family, and of Himself as the perfect Father. He promises not to leave us as we are when we believe. He promises to change us into the likeness of His Son!
where it comes from: God alone
to be clear, faith does not come through our family line [of blood]. we do not get grandfathered into God’s family because our parents are believers, or because we come from a long line of church-goers. our faith must be our own faith.
it does not come through our own sheer willpower [the will of the flesh]. we do not receive Christ because we are smart enough, cunning enough, logical enough, lucky enough, educated enough, or strong enough. it is not our doing at all.
it does not come through [the will of man]. we do not believe in the name of Jesus because of someone’s winsome sermon, although God may use it, through someone convincing you with the right logic, although God may use it, or through wanting it so badly for you that you were won over by their genuine care, although God certainly may use it. man cannot claim victory for our salvation.
salvation belongs to our God. [psalm 3:8, rev 7:10] he is the author and perfecter of our faith. [heb 12:2] he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ. [eph 1:5] all of the process of us being awakened to God’s glory and coming to Him is His own doing! why? why is this such a big deal that salvation begins with the Savior? because the Savior deserves every ounce of credit!
if God only saves the pretty good, the pretty good get partial credit. if we live like we can earn God’s favor, we are robbing Him of the absolute glory due His name. if we act like God came into the orphanage and was swayed by the cutest and brightest, then his very character is in jeopardy of defamation. may it never be!
brothers and sisters, know yourself chosen. know yourself loved in your worst state, a rebel, an enemy of God, dead in your own sin, with no way out. this is where you were when God gave you new life, showed you his love, forgave your sin. it is this kind of love that will keep us to the end. place your confidence in the ever triumphant blood of Jesus Christ. he has made us the righteousness of God. he has made us sons of God.
~ arwen eastman