By Jack Kinsella
There is no greater blessing in life than one’s children. In my children I see the imprint of my life. Each of them has their own story, and each story is also part of my story.
Their triumphs are my triumphs; their defeats are as crushingly painful for me as they are for them.
I don’t re-live my life through my children; I live it more fully because of them.
Through their children I vicariously experience the innocence of youth and the joy of learning – but this time around I get to skip the more painful lessons.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalms 127:3-5)
People are ‘funny’ about their children (in the way bears are ‘funny’ about their cubs) – it’s not a good idea to criticize someone to his parents. They might have a laundry list of criticisms, but you’d better keep your thoughts to yourself.
Having once been one myself, I knew better than to think my children were always right – but they were always my children.
I’ve never had to do it personally, but I know that if one of them were to commit a crime, I’d expect them to face justice – with me standing behind the best lawyer I could afford.
Jesus referred to His Apostles as ‘children’ throughout His ministry. Elsewhere, the Bible refers to Christians as ‘children’ as in:
“Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36)
I did a word study on the various Greek words translated as ‘children’. There are several different Greek words translated into English as ‘children’ that reveal a lot about how God sees us from His perspective.
Because there are children — and then there are your own children.
The Greek word teknon means ‘a child’ (as produced, biological); teknion ‘means a darling infant, as in one’s own); huios means a ‘son’ literally, symbolically or figuratively, or a descendant; paidion, means ‘a toddler’ or ‘childling’ of either sex; and breiphos, meaning simply ‘an infant’ .
Let’s look at a few examples in context before going on.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children (teknonbiological, produced) of God: And if children (teknon,) then heirs (kleronomos,inheritors) of God, and joint-heirs (sugkleronomos co-heir, fellow heirs, heirs-in common) with Christ…” (Romans 8:16-17a)
“For ye are all the children (huios) of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)
“And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, (teknion or darling, innocent infants) how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24)
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, (paidion: childling) he shall not enter therein.” (Matthew 18:2)
“For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children (huios sons) of disobedience:” (Colossians 3:6)
Because there are YOUR teknion— and then there are everybody else’s huios.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
God views the ‘sons of disobedience’ as ‘sons’ (huios) – only they’re not His. They are the devil’s offspring. They are of his family. They are of his house.
By faith in Jesus Christ, one becomes a huios of God (Galatians 3:26) through adoption (huiothesia).
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, (huiothesia) whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (huiothesia) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5)
Huiothesia is a compound of two Greek words that mean ‘adopted son’ – a son by deliberate choice. In the ancient world, a child by adoption was an unbreakable relationship – one could disown and disinherit a natural born son, but not an adopted son.
Adoption was a very serious business, and therefore adoption was a universally recognized expression of great love. An adopted son is of the house of his adopted Father. And the word “Abba” means the same thing in modern Israel as it did in Paul’s day.
It means “Daddy.”
What did you do for your dad today so that he would still love you? Did you call him up this morning? Did you do anything lately that he ever told you not to do?
What did you do today to make sure you didn’t get kicked out of your family? How often do you worry about having to change your name because your Dad decided you weren’t good enough to be his son?
Are you the perfect child in all respects? Have you ever disappointed your Dad? Did he kick you out of the house? Did he tell you he never wanted to see you again? Did he promise to kill you?
Are you an adopted child of God? Have you surrendered your life over to His care? Did you ask Him to adopt you into His forever family?
What did you do for God lately so that He would still love you? What did you do today to make sure you don’t get kicked out of His forever family? Have you ever disappointed God? Are you a perfect Christian?
Do you really expect God to be less loving than your own Dad? Do you really believe that God loves you less perfectly than you love own your less-than-perfect children? What sin would your child have to commit before you would disown him?
Now, what about your kid’s friends? (Or yours, when you were a kid?) Ever have somebody else’s kid behave so badly you didn’t want him back in your house? Or didn’t want him playing with your kids?
Suppose you banned a kid from coming to your house for some misbehavior and he showed up at the door, demanding to be treated like one of the family. So you ask him if he is sorry for committing the infraction that got him banned.
Not only is he not sorry, he thinks you’re a jerk and your rules are stupid and he has no intention of comforming to them. Would you let him in? Why would anybody think that God is less sovereign over His heaven than you are over your kitchen?
Salvation is a spiritual transformation from one family to another — from the huios of disobedience to the teknion of Christ, the huiothesia of God and sugkleronomos with the Heir of God.
The Bible says that a Christian is a new creation of God, not merely a new and improved version of the old one.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
So, you don’t think you are worthy to be saved? Don’t think you are good enough to go to heaven? Worried that God will kick you out of His forever family for disappointing Him?
Did you worry about your Dad doing that to you? Ever think about doing that to your own kids?
Is your ability for unconditional love really THAT far superior to God’s? Are you really thatmuch more forgiving, that much more understanding and that much more fair?
Or are you trusting in yourself to keep you instead of trusting Him?
“I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righeousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 28, 2010