Sons and daughters of God
The right of becoming the adopted sons and daughters of God is the supreme advantage He gives those who are born of the Spirit. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God… unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). The reference to “water” is a clear allusion to water baptism (Matthew 3:5, 6, 11). Those who are born from above have God as their Father and resemble Him in character (1 John 3:1-3; John 8:39, 44). From now on, they aim, by the grace of Christ, to live above sin (Romans 6:12–16) and do not submit their wills to do evil (1 John 3:9; 5:18).
Faith that saves
The Bible declares: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). It is grace on God’s part and faith on man’s part. Faith accepts the blood of Jesus that was shed to atone for man’s sin (John 3:16). It is through the act of entrusting ourselves to Him that we are saved, not that faith is the means of our salvation, but simply the channel (Romans 4:3). Salvation is not gained by human work. It is a free gift, without money or price (Isaiah 55:1; John 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15; 1 John 5:11). Works are not a cause but an effect of salvation (Romans 3:31).
Daily relationship with Christ
In the life of Jesus, as a Son of God, we have a perfect example of a father-son relationship (Luke 2:49; John 1:14; 4:34; 8:29). The secret of the success of this relationship lies in abiding in Him. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the soul must be in daily, constant communion with Him through studying the Word and prayer. And the soul must live His life through His enabling power (Galatians 2:20).
The moving force in this relationship is love, and its fruit is obedient trust. Without these characteristics, there can be no true father-son experience. God desires that these qualities shall be a reality in the life of every believer (1 John 1:1–7). “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9, 10 also 2 Corinthians 7:1). A person can’t clean himself for he has no power to do that (Romans 7:22–24). But he can be made holy only by letting God work in and through him (Philippians 2:12, 13; 1 Peter 1:22).
Jesus said, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 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). God promises to act the part of a Father to those who become His sons and daughters, to be their provider, protector, healer, counselor, guide, and deliverer. What a glorious experience that is! John exclaims, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1, 2).
In His service,