“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” -Matthew 6:9
There are many ways the New Testament talks about the identity of believers, but my personal favorite is a child of God. In every case, our identity is in relation to God. In Ephesians 5:6, unbelievers are called “children of disobedience and God’s wrath will be poured out upon them.” The children of God are never identified in this way because our relationship to God is different. The wrath of God was already poured out upon Jesus on the cross for the sins of all who come to Jesus through faith. My identity as a child of God was not a result of my work but God’s. I have been “born again” of the Spirit. I have been adopted by the Father. I am now a joint-heir with Jesus. I am God’s child, and that isn’t a simple doctrinal statement but the confession of my heart. God made me His child and now I am safe, secure, loved, disciplined, guided, and never alone.
I am a child of God!
Jesus teaches His followers to address God as Father. This is significant because there is no example in all previous scripture of an individual appealing to God as “Father” in prayer. Why does Jesus introduce this new way to pray? Let this sink in… All who come to God through the Son are now made sons of God. In Contrast, all who approach God through any other way than Jesus can not rightly call upon God as their Father because Jesus is the exclusive way to God. Jesus isn’t a way but He is the way.
Do you know who my Father is?
As a child of God, my attitude ought to be humble and thankful, but never arrogant. My new identity as His child wasn’t earned through my dedication and wasn’t deserved by my choices. The Father loved me, the Son died for me, the Spirit opened my eyes and regenerated me. God is worthy of all my thoughts, adoration, and work. He is so worthy of it all, but my thoughts, adoration, and work are not always worthy of Him.
I am now His child, but I’m still imperfectly obedient. I am now forgiven, but I’m still prone to wander back into sin. I am now a saint, but still a sinner. I feel that self contradiction ever day, but despite all my imperfection, my perfect Father reminds me that His love for me has never hinged upon my own merit. His love for me has always flowed from His nature. God loves me, not because I am good, but because He is good. I am His child, not because I adopted Him, but because He adopted me.
My attitude should be humble and thankful, but my confession of love for Him should be bold and clear. I am a Christian. I am a child of God. My God is eternal, self-existent, triune, absolutely perfect, transcendent yet knowable, because He has condescended to reveal Himself to me in a way that is both meaningful and yet inexhaustible. Therefore my affections, my thoughts, my words, and my work, are all important manifestations of my faith. I should be bold and clear so I might be used by God for those near me to also be drawn to my Father by His grace.