We’re going through the New Testament and looking for clues to the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the prologue of John now and going over each verse. I have noted that not every verse touches essentially on the doctrine of the Trinity, but each verse tells us something about who Jesus is and we want to put them all together and form a beautiful mosaic. Tonight, we’ll be looking at verse 12.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
The past two days, we gave the bad news. Today, we gave the good news. John has given us the way to become children of God. Do we really think of how awesome that is? Let’s consider looking at a pagan in contrast. This is the 9th chapter in the golden sayings of Epictetus, a wonderful work from a thinker shortly after the time of Christ that everyone should read.
If a man could be thoroughly penetrated, as he ought, with this thought, that we are all in an especial manner sprung from God, and that God is the Father of men as well as of Gods, full surely he would never conceive aught ignoble or base of himself. Whereas if Cæsar were to adopt you, your haughty looks would be intolerable; will you not be elated at knowing that you are the son of God? Now however it is not so with us: but seeing that in our birth these two things are commingled—the body which we share with the animals, and the Reason and Thought which we share with the Gods, many decline towards this unhappy kinship with the dead, few rise to the blessed kinship with the Divine. Since then every one must deal with each thing according to the view which he forms about it, those few who hold that they are born for fidelity, modesty, and unerring sureness in dealing with the things of sense, never conceive aught base or ignoble of themselves: but the multitude the contrary. Why, what am I?—A wretched human creature; with this miserable flesh of mine. Miserable indeed! but you have something better than that paltry flesh of yours. Why then cling to the one, and neglect the other?
Now when he meant son of God, he meant one who came from Zeus, much like Paul did at Mars Hill. Not a physical descendant in a sexual sense, but in the sense of being part of the creation. For Paul, it’s something better. It’s being a part of the family of God and being adopted into his family. The same applies to John. Consider his shock in 1 John 3:1.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
John can hardly seem to contain his excitement. “And that is what we are!” He has given us this good news that he deemed important enough to put in the prologue. This Word is the way that we can become part of the family of God.
Let us make sure we heed that Word.