Sometimes families fall apart. As a GP, I have met people whose entire family has turned against them, leaving them lonely and heartbroken. I have also had patients who have run away from abusive parents, or who have driven their family from them through their drug misuse and destructive behaviour. Sadly our society is full of broken families.
In His goodness and kindness, God offers us the possibility of being in His own family – one that will never fall apart and where we will always be loved. We can become children of a true Heavenly Father because of Christ’s death for sin and His subsequent resurrection.
John 1.12,13 tells us how we can become part of this family. It is through receiving the Lord Jesus and believing on His name. This means accepting Him as Lord and Saviour, even when the world around us is rejecting Him and mocking those who follow Him. Believing on His name means more than simply accepting the fact of who He is. It is wholehearted dependence on Him for salvation. When we rest in the Lord Jesus alone, accepting that His death is all that God requires to deal with our sins, we are given the right to become children of God.
Verse 13 helps clarify this. We are not born into God’s family “of blood”, that is, by some form of physical birth. Nor is it “of the will of the flesh.” No matter how hard we try, we cannot make our sinful souls good enough to be children of God. Our wrongdoings make us unfit to be part of God’s family. We in fact deserve the judgment of God, not a warm welcome into His family. The verse goes on to explain that to be born into God’s family is not “of the will of man.” It is not something that is conferred on us by others, whether they be priests, pastors or parents. As much as they may desire our well-being, they do not have this right or privilege.
Those who are born into God’s family and receive eternal life are born “of God.” When people repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, God works in their heart giving them new and eternal life. Just like a baby's natural birth, this is a once in a lifetime event. God designates believing sinners as His children and places His Holy Spirit within them. Only God can make us part of His family and He is clear that He will only welcome those who receive His Son as Saviour and Lord.