God’s Children

“God’s Children” – July 19, 2020

Rom 8-14 children of God

Romans 8:12-19 (8:17-19)

Many people know what it’s like to be part of a family. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. For many, this is a warm and happy feeling! For others, not so much. What would it be like to have an unhappy childhood? Perhaps, to grow up as an orphan or in foster care? Or, with a parent or close family member who is an active addict or abuser? This is a sad reality for many, many people throughout the world, who do not experience the same warm, comfortable feelings about family that many of us here do.

We are in the middle of a short series about the Lectionary readings from Romans chapter 8 this month. Before I get into the wonders of salvation that Paul talks about in this chapter, we are going to take a short detour. Our Hebrew Scripture reading from this week concerns Jacob, from Genesis 28. Jacob was not a particularly honest guy. He was a sharp customer, who connived with his mother Rachel to steal the blessing of the firstborn from his older brother Esau. He also pulled the wool over the eyes of his dishonest father-in-law Laban, who did the same to him.

These are the things that are reported about Jacob, in the book of Genesis. I wonder what Jacob’s family life was really like? How were his relations with his father and mother, and his brother? We just don’t know for sure, but we can guess a good deal from his actions.

This was a very human, very fallible family we see from Genesis. Not at all like the Godly family the apostle Paul tells us about in Romans chapter 8.

Paul does not say that you and I are God’s employees, or servants of God. No, certainly not! The Lord could have said, “Oh, I’ll keep you around as long as you do things My way, as long as you behave and don’t put one toe out of line.” That is what many worldly people would have said! No, Paul tells us that those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. Can you believe it? I can hardly understand why God would do such a thing for a such a sinner like me, but I do believe it. That is a blessed fact, and a promise from the Lord.

Now, wait a minute. Let’s think about Jacob again. He was not honest. He deceived people, was cowardly, and wasn’t a nice guy. But, what did God do to Jacob? Do you think the Lord kicked Jacob out of God’s family for doing all that sneaky, rotten stuff, for years? No!

“Instead, God promised to stick with him throughout his life and even told him that through him everyone in the world would be blessed. Jacob is a good person to remember when we feel like we should be kicked out of God’s family.[1]

Because we are part of God’s family, we can expect to enjoy the happy, easy days in the family.  But we must also be ready to stick with the family when the going gets hard.  The sufferings of Christ are very real. Paul says in verse 17 that we are going to have our share of suffering and suffer with Christ. Some suffer with cancer, or with diabetes, like my father and siblings. Some suffer with economic hardship, or a bad car accident, or paralysis. Perhaps we all are suffering right now, with the COVID-19 virus. I don’t know. That is one of the things we are going to need to ask God about when we meet God after we cross that River Jordan.

As David Lose, one of my favorite commentators, mentions, “Paul describes the difference it makes, being considered God’s children, adopted by God. Rather than being afraid – of the future, of what people may think of us, of our status, of our standing with God – Paul invites us instead to imagine a life of courage, the courage of those who have been adopted by God and invited into the full measure of God’s blessings and riches.[2]

Even if you or I or our friends had a less-than-perfect growing-up time, God calls us children. Even though some may not feel comfortable with the idea of an earthly parent or grandparent, or other members of the extended family, even though some may be orphans or foster children, abandoned by those who brought them into this world, God calls us heirs with Christ! Not employees, not servants, not someone who can be simply dismissed or ignored. We are God’s children! That is huge! Can I hear an amen? Isn’t that the best news you’ve heard all week? Even, all month? Perhaps, all year?

Paul tells us in verse 17 “Since we are God’s children, we will possess the blessings God keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.” Praise God, we ARE God’s children, no matter what! And, God is going to shower us with blessing and glory! Amen! Alleluia!

Now, I have a challenge: what difference does it make NOW? What difference does being God’s child make to you? To know that you are unconditionally loved? That you have immeasurable value in God’s eyes? That no matter what to do – or is done to you – and no matter where you go, yet God always loves you and cares about you? [3]

I hope this blessed truth makes a huge difference to you – to you, to me, to all of us! Again, praise God for God’s declaration that we are God’s children! In this world, and in the next. Amen, alleluia.

 

(I would like to thank Carolyn C. Brown for her superb commentary in Worshiping with Children. This is a marvelous series, and I so appreciate her insights and wisdom. I have borrowed freely from this week’s Lectionary study on Year A – Proper 11, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 6th Sunday after Pentecost.)

[1] http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2014/06/year-proper-11-16th-sunday-in-ordinary.html

Worshiping with Children, Including children in the congregation’s worship, using the Revised Common Lectionary, Carolyn C. Brown, 2014.

[2] http://www.davidlose.net/2015/05/trinity-b-three-in-one-plus-one/

“Three-In-One Plus One!” David Lose, …in the Meantime, 2015.

[3] http://www.davidlose.net/2015/05/trinity-b-three-in-one-plus-one/

“Three-In-One Plus One!” David Lose, …in the Meantime, 2015.

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my regular blog for 2020: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. #PursuePEACE – and my other blog,  A Year of Being Kind . Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s