You Are God’s Beloved
Have you ever asked God for something and then allowed negative thoughts about yourself and the awareness of your shortcomings to cause you to doubt that God would grant your request? When something goes wrong, is the first question that comes to your mind “what have I done that I am being punished”? Do you feel that other people deserve the blessings of God more than you do? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have a problem with your understanding of how God sees you today in Christ and with His gift of righteousness. You need to get a true understanding of how God sees you so that you can really start enjoying your relationship with God.
Physically, you’ve heard ‘you are what you eat’. Spiritually, you are what you think. That is, what you think about God and about how God sees you will directly influence the results you get spiritually—the prayers you pray, the miracles you receive, the things you accomplish, the way you relate to people, and the dreams you embrace for yourself and your family. So how does God see you?
The passage in John begins with these words in the New Living Translation: “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!… Dear Friends, we are already God’s children.” This is awesome; God calls us His beloved children; not tomorrow, not after we become strong spiritually, not after we die. Now! This means God loves us perfectly and accepts us unconditionally today, and takes great delight in us, not because of our performance, but because we are his spiritual children. And just like a good father loves his child just because he is his child, so God loves us just because we are his children. It is not a love we have to earn or merit.
Yet, many struggle with feelings of rejection and guilt. The problem is not that God has not revealed how much He loves them. Rather, it is that many Christians do not give themselves permission to be loved unconditionally and to be forgiven totally. Many still feel that their sins are obstacles they must overcome first in order to be totally accepted in God’s sight. They struggle with the idea that God can totally accept them without any reference to their sins.
But that is exactly what God promised to give to all who receive His Son as their Savior, and who trust in Him and not themselves for salvation! Hebrews 8:12 makes a statement that is almost too good to be true, but it is. There God says of all of those who are partakers of the New Covenant established by Jesus with His own blood: “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawlessness I will never remember anymore. (Darby) And in Romans 4:7-8, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf and the blood He shed for our iniquities, all of our sins, which mean the sins of our entire life (past, present, future), have been cleared from the record and do not exist in the mind of God anymore. God simply does not remember them and so treats us as though we are without sin.
The job of the Old Testament prophet was to call the sins of the people into remembrance against them. But because God has promised to be merciful to our unrighteousness in the New Covenant, the job of the New Testament preacher is to put people into remembrance of God’s forgiveness and their righteous standing in Christ. Seeing how righteous we are because of Jesus, not how sinful we are because of the fall, will build our faith and increase our love for God and cause us to want to please Him all the more.
A group of teenagers were enjoying a party, and someone suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. “I’d rather you took me home,” Jan said to her date. “My parents don’t approve of that place.” “Afraid your father will hurt you?” one of the girls asked sarcastically. “No,” Jan replied, “I’m not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him.” She understood the principle that a true child of God, who knows the love of the Father for him or her, will want to please Him and will never find pleasure in sinning against that love.
So I encourage you to give yourself permission today to see yourself as a child of God who is totally accepted and loved unconditionally. When we have truly heard and understood what God has said concerning us, then when the enemy comes with his lies to shake our confidence with reminders of our sins and failures, we can answer him; “you can’t shake me, rattle me, or make me doubt how God sees me. I am clear about who I am in Christ because my Father has declared me to be His beloved child. I am the child He loves”!