How to Become a Child of God

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Just like that, the year 2018 is counting down. Our physical life is short and will not last forever like the spiritual one. As some of you may already know, George H.W. Bush (41st) just passed. I saw the news just after midnight but it's almost 3am now so I'm guessing he passed away Friday night or just after midnight today - not sure. My heart goes out to the Bush family. Now, let's talk about becoming a child of God. In about thirty days from now, you'll be hearing people talk about their 2019 goals. If you are not already a child of God, do you have this as a goal? If you are a child of God, do you know someone who can use a change in their life? Christianity is the word used to describe the lifestyle you choose to live after becoming a child of God (Acts 11:26). The people who live such lifestyle are called Christians, Christ-like or followers of Christ. They are not perfect, they sin but they do not continue to practice or live in sin (1 John 3).

To have a child, a process has to take place either through conception or adoption. The original Israelite that were Abraham's descendants automatically became part of the family by birth. However, they all lived under the law of sin and death; not grace. They were expected to be perfect or die. Everyone else that was not of the circumcision was not considered part of God's family at that time. Even us, I means those living in the western part of the world were not part of that physical family.

The good news today is that the death of Jesus changed all that and created a platform where anyone in any part of the world can become a child of God. This group of people are also referred to as God's children or Christians. These are, through faith, the adopted sons and daughters of God that willingly accepts this open invitation to join the family regardless of race or ethnicity (Galatians 3:26-29). Joining the family is not by physical birth or circumcision of the flesh. It is by spiritual birth (John 3:3-5) and the circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:24-29; 1 Peter 3:21).
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Well, how do you join a family that you haven't heard of? When you HEAR the gospel (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6), which is the good news about Jesus and His family that He called His Church, (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:29-30) it should cause you to pause and think because of how powerful the message is. The message is powerful and called the good news because it includes the news about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. An event that took place for the sole purpose of bringing us closer to God. This good news brings us salvation by bridging the gap between us and God (Ephesians 2:12-13). 

It's obvious that a cause to pause means that something caught your attention or struck your heart. If you BELIEVE the truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17) that you heard about the good news (John 3:16; Mark 16:15-16), why not become a child of God? His invitation is open to all. There is only one truth and you just found it so what would you do with it? Similar question was asked by those who heard the good news for the first time in Acts 2:37. Will your reaction to this truth be the same as theirs? Here's a spoiler - their reaction was positive and brought them joy.

Your belief is made evident in what happens or what you do after you hear the truth. If you believe that red light means stop and green means go, then you should stop when you see a red light and go when it turns green. This is true in everyday life. So my belief should cause me to react to what I believe just like we would react to a red or green light. In this case, the reaction to the good news that you believe would be to stop going in the direction that the bible calls wrong and head towards the good news. This is referred to as REPENTANCE or changing your way (Acts 2:38 and 17:30).

Repenting from sin points us towards the direction of God's good news. You are leaving the devil's camp and taking sides with God (Ephesians 2:1-10). There is a spiritual battle going on everyday of our lives (Ephesians 6:12-18). It's like leaving your basketball team in the middle of a ball game to join the opponent. The team members of the team you are joining will be happy to give you the uniform to put on but don't be surprise if they ask you about your decision to make sure you are not being pressured to change sides. If this is a willing decision by you and you are serious about joining the new team, you will not be shy to let them know. In the same way you shouldn't be ashamed to let people know when you decide to join team Jesus. It's called a CONFESSION by making your decision known without shame (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:9-10). No, it's not time to say everything you did for "team devil" because no one is interested in taking inventory of your past and God is only interested in the new you. Confession is you simply saying that you do believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, the new team uniform is not going to put itself on.
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You take off your old team jersey and put on the new one. The reason you do  this is because two opposing team don't wear the same color on the floor with the same name to battle each other. BAPTISM is how we take off the old devil jersey and put on the new team Jesus jersey (Galatians 3:27 ). It's not "just an act" like some would say; it is a reaction to your belief (as discusses above) and change of mind (Acts 2:41). In the spiritual sense, baptism washes away our sinful old ways through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. And then helps us put on the new way of Jesus Christ. It is also a demonstration of the good news (death, burial and resurrection) that you believed - Romans 6:4; 1 Peter 3:21. This is essentially the beginning of becoming Christ-like or a Christian. The definition of Christianity is doing things like Jesus did. What better way to start than to be buried and resurrected in baptism with Him and just like Him (Colossians 2:12).

Even Jesus Himself told Nicodemus that this process of baptism is the only way to be "born again" into God's family and it is a spiritual birth (John 3:3-5). We all know that for a birth to take place, it first has to be enclosed in something like a womb, egg etc. This is why it must be an immersion or burial in water. You also can't come out of something that you never went into, (Acts 8:35-39) just like the Ethiopia Eunuch. The reason he came out of the water is because he went into the water first. The Eunuch could have sat in his chariot and tell Philip to sprinkle water on him. He was traveling on a long trip through the deserts so you know he at least took a sip of water along if not a keg. But they both knew the meaning of baptism and understands it as requiring immersion. This was made clear when they came across a body of water and the Eunuch asked to be baptized after hearing the good news about Jesus.
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Here comes the fun part - a new life that involves a spiritual battle like you probably already read in Ephesians 6:12-18. Right out the water of baptism, you become a child of God. Born into the family of God. Changed sides in the middle of a battle. Not only is your old team angry and ready to take you down, they will do everything possible to not be out-numbered in the battle (Revelation 2:10). Our repentance was a choice we made because we believed that the way we were heading was destructive so we made a U-turn (Acts 2:40-42; Matthew 28:18-20). The new "good life" we now live is not only a thank you to God for saving us and helping us avoid destruction, it is also our REACTION to God's warning that keeps us on that right path.
LIGHT for our path 
(John 8:12; Psalm 119:105; John 14:6) 
Here is an example that would help you understand the walk with God.
  • You are walking home in the dark and your Dad shows up, turns on the flash light, which prevented you from falling off a cliff just a few feet away. First you say "thank you" and then you turn around in the right direction with the person (your dad) holding the flashlight so he can lead you home.
You in the dark is you lost in sin
God is your Dad with the flash light
The flash light is God's word
  • You saying "thank you" and turning around to follow your dad who is holding the flashlight, is for your own good. Following the right path he is showing you is a reaction to show that you truly believe and trust your dad. You trust the path he is showing you to get home. Most importantly, don't forget he has the flash light that he used when he saved you from falling off the cliff. Your walk home with him is not what saved you; you were saved from falling off the deadly cliff when he showed up with that flash light, and you responded accordingly. Your lack of appreciation would be to head back towards the deadly cliff with no guidance and we all know how that would end. Each time you stumble on your walk home, he'll be there to pick you up and shine that light. You just need to stay close and don't give up (Galatians 6:9-10).
So our goal should be to continuing in the path of God and carry the cross with Jesus (Luke 9:23). As mentioned above, continuing in this path is not what saves you. You've already been saved the day you became a child of God. You just need to do your very best fighting with the new team, learning the play calls and fighting through adversity. It's not going to be easy or perfect but you cannot forget the decision you made to follow TEAM JESUS. All your old sins have been washed away and any mistakes you make in the future is taken care of by His grace but we cannot take His grace for granted(Romans 6:1; 1 Peter 1:14).


"BLESSED BE THE TIE THAT BINDS OUR HEARTS IN CHRISTIAN LOVE."

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