The births of my two children are occasions I will never forget. It is hard to describe the swirling emotion and relief that surged within me as I finally held them in my arms. I remember the first time I saw my son’s little eyes, almost identical to my own, looking up at me. He was truly my son. As long as he lives he will have my eyes, and there will be no mistaking I am his father.
In general, people like the idea of God being their heavenly father. They consider themselves to be in God’s family, perhaps on account of their baptism or cultural heritage. They make this assumption; but sadly they bear no family resemblance, for they have never been born into His family. The people of the Lord Jesus’ day were similarly self-deceived. They prided themselves in their family history and religious endeavour, boasting to the Lord, “we have one Father, even God” (John 8.41). They thought that being descended from Abraham automatically made them God’s children. Their attitude toward the Lord Jesus showed they were woefully mistaken.
John 8.42 states that everyone in God’s family will love God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He came from God and spoke what His Father told Him (John 8.26,28). Those in God’s family accept what Christ says and place their trust in Him as Lord and Saviour, just as Peter did in John 6.68,69: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” A key family characteristic of a child of God is love for the Lord Jesus.
In contrast to this, the Jewish leaders conspired to have the Lord Jesus put to death. They wanted to claim God as their Father but reject His Son as their Saviour. These two attitudes are incompatible. With solemn words the Lord Jesus spoke to the religious leaders: “You are of your father the devil and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8.44). Their actions showed their true colours. Likewise, if we are not trusting and obeying Christ, we are in opposition to God and are not in His family. Rather, we are showing the features of a very different “family.” It is evidence we are still marked by the devil’s lustful and lying characteristics, traits which have affected all of humankind, apart from Christ Himself. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23).
Take time to consider what you think of Christ. Does the prospect of standing before Him fill you with dread or with joy? Your attitude to Christ will tell you everything about what family you really belong to.