I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be called children of God (1 John 3:1). It’s been intriguing to think about how our identity changes when we come to associate ourselves with Jesus. My devotional this morning opened with Ephesians 2:8-10. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Listen to what the author, Dennis Kinlaw says about “a moment of divine touch” in his devotional book This Day with the Master.
There is a great difference between what we can do and what God can do. Our work has finite character to it, but his is eternal. That is why one moment of divine activity is worth more than a lifetime of human effort and achievement. Between his work and ours lies the difference between religion and grace, and religion without grace is sterile and ultimately destructive.
Religion without grace inevitably leads to pride and arrogance. There is an illusion within it all. Religion makes one feel superior to the irreligious. Where God is at work, there is an inevitable humility because God is humble. Just look at Jesus. When God comes, our pride and our arrogance are always broken. We do not feel superior. We know we are obligated. Meekness replaces self-sufficiency because our confidence, our trust, is no longer in what we have done or are doing. When we live in grace, our confidence is in what has been done and is being done for us. We know we are recipients more than we are givers.
The result of grace is a freedom that the merely religious never know. Ours in the freedom of the child. Theirs is the bondage of the servant or slave. Religious people, in spite of all they do, will never be spiritual children. No human can ever achieve that by working, children of the Father enjoy the freedom that comes with that relationship.
God wants us all to be his children, daughters and sons. We can’t make ourselves that. He can, and he can do it in one divine moment if we will let him.
I’m not sure why, but even when I know that I am a child of God, I sometime slip away from grace and into religion. I was encouraged today to remember that my identity is in who He says that I am and not in what I think I can do!
May your day be blessed know who and whose you are!