Behold! Children

Behold! Children

Behold! Children.

There are some individual words and short phrases in Scripture that need to be highlighted as they are read, words or phrases that are significant or point to something meaningful. Some phrases might be: Fear not. Here I am. Woe to you. One another.   And maybe some words are: AmenHallelujahBlessedAbba. Come.  The word Behold! is one of those significant words, an exclamation that is intended to get our attention. Listen, people, this is something you need to hear! Behold says to the audience, Look at this and take note! You would be wise to remember these words and think about them! Careful now, don’t be deaf to what I am about to say! Stop what you’re doing and listen up! As the Eastern Orthodox Christians say before they read the Gospel in the Liturgy… Attend! The following verse begins with Behold! So the words that follow must be important.

Behold! What manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! What an incredible quality of love the Father has given us! He calls us His children, and that is what we are. What marvelous love the Father has lavished on us. (1 John 3:1).

By being adopted into God’s family, we partake of God’s nature. We receive all the privileges of God’s  household, including love, the Holy Spirit, a new life now, eternal life with God. By being children of God, we become His heirs, not only of God’s glory, but also of Christ’s suffering. And by being welcomed into the family of God, God’s broken image we inherited from the old Adam is restored into the image of the new Adam, Christ. We develop a family resemblance to Jesus and are gradually transformed into His glorious likeness.

“Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like Him. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. Set no bounds to your love, just as your heavenly Father sets none to His. Grow into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character toward the ultimate goal of perfection. Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).

Perfect” in Matthew 5:48– whole, complete, fully mature, lacking nothing, well-rounded; in the context, “perfect” means completely moral; fully mature in character; well-rounded in virtue; lacking nothing in godliness.

“As God’s dear children, take Him as your pattern. Be imitators of God. Copy Him and follow His example, as well-behaved children imitate their father. Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters.”  (Ephesians 5:10).

Imitate” in Ephesians 5:1 – mimic, copy, play a role, play an active part; in context, “imitate” means to take on God’s character and live into His thoughts and deeds and integrity.

“People conceived into life by the Father don’t make a habitual practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. His principle of life is at work in them. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to deliberately and knowingly practice sin. After all, they are children of the Father! They have His nature permanently within them! Whoever has been born of God will refuse to keep sinning, because they have been fathered by God Himself, and contain His nature. Here is how God’s children can be clearly distinguished from the Devil’s children: Anyone who does not demonstrate righteousness does not belong to God, nor does the one who refuses to love fellow believers.” (1 John 3:9-10).

“God’s Seed” in 1 John 3:9 – (Greek word “sperma“) – The seed of divine life introduced into a believer by the Father through the Holy Spirit; the provision of a new family name and identity; the miraculous infusion of the Father’s DNA, a new spiritual genetic framework within a believer; the transmission of new characteristics from the Father with a new heredity as a child of God; through His spiritual seed, God “fathers-forth” a new race in Christ.

“All who are guided by the Spirit of God are indeed children of God. The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. You have received the Spirit of adoption, of full acceptance, enfolding you into the family of God. You received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as his own children. You will never feel orphaned, for as He rises up within us our spirits join Him in crying out ‘Abba! Father!’ In the bliss of our adoption we say ‘Beloved Father!’ For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as He whispers into our innermost being, ‘You are God’s beloved child.’ We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children.”  (Romans 8:14-16.

Abba” in Romans 8:15 – An Aramaic word that is a child’s affectionate term for father; a title that directly addresses the father in a family setting, much like ‘Dad’ or ‘Papa’; a word that assumes a profound personal relationship between child and father; a believer’s term of honor and intimacy that refers to God as Beloved Father.