The Right to Become Children of God (John 1:12–13) - Radical

The Right to Become Children of God (John 1:12–13)

“To all who did receive Him, who believe in his name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
– John 1:12–13

Oh, what an awesome truth. Through faith in Jesus, for all who believe in Jesus, who receive his grace. The picture is not those who have worked the hardest, have done the best. No, it’s the people who received him. When I give my kids a gift, they don’t say, “Oh, I really worked really hard for that.” They say, “No, I’ll take that. You’re giving it freely, I’ll take it.” That’s the picture. God gives us this gift freely, belief in Jesus, trust in what he has done for our salvation, and in this, we have been given the right to be children of God.

To all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. By God’s grace is in Christ, we have the privilege of knowing God as Father.

Children of God. Like in the family of God. We’re talking about the creator of the universe who says I will be your dad. I think about, when I go home and my youngest kids in particular come running up, like, “Daddy,” and they give me a big hug, I just think …

To imagine that I have that kind of relationship with the holy God of the universe, who I have sinned against, rebelled against, turned against, defied, and yet he has made a way through Jesus for me to receive His grace through faith, through belief in His name and in this I have been welcomed into His family where I know Him as my dad. God as my dad. You have this privilege too. We’re brothers and sisters. We’re sons and daughters of God. And we’re a family before God who know God as our dad, as our father.

John 1:12–13 Answers What is a Christian?

It’s one of the things I love about J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God. He says, “What is a Christian? The richest answer I know is one who has God as father.” If this thought does not prompt our worship and our praying and our living, everything we do, then we don’t understand Christianity very well at all. That’s a loose paraphrase, but the point is clear. This is what it means to be a Christian. It means to know God as dad. It means to know God as a father, to have this kind of relationship with him.

This Verse Comforts Those Who Struggle with their Father

I know some who are listening to this right now don’t have a strong relationship with a dad on earth, maybe never had any relationship with a dad on earth and so this is a bit skewed in a sense but just picture the perfect father, the perfect dad who’s always right, who is always protecting you, always providing for you, whose love for you will never, ever, ever let you down, whose love for you is perfect, whose wisdom is perfect, who has all power in all the world. He’s your dad, he’s your father. This is glorious news, so live in it. Worship God as father. Pray to God as father. Live walking with, loving, enjoying God as your father.

John 1:12–13 Reminds Us the Lord is Our Father

Oh God, our father in heaven, we praise your name. Your name, you’re our father, that’s your name. You’re our dad, that’s your name, you’re Abba. Oh God, thank you. Thank you for making me, a sinner who deserves your wrath, your son. I don’t deserve to be in this family. Don’t deserve to be in this family. You’ve forgiven my sin, you’ve welcomed me into your household and you’ve made me a son forever. Thank you, God.

I pray that all those who are listening to this would just feel the wonder of this in a fresh way right now, that they’re your children and you love them, that you’re committed to providing for them, protecting them. That you desire joy for them in relationship with you, that you delight in them. You delight in us.

This Verse Honors and Glorifies the Lord

God I just … I pray that you would … In a similar sense to I do with my kids when I get home, just pray that you would wrap those who are listening to this in your arms of love, that they would be comforted and known by you. They would be comforted and cared for by you as their dad. As their heavenly, perfect, everlasting eternal father. Praise you for making us your sons and daughters, and we pray that you would be pleased, be honored, glorified in our lives as your children. In Jesus’ name, who makes all this possible, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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