Sons & Daughters of God!
2:12 Be amazed at this, O heavens! Be shocked and utterly dumbfounded,” says the Lord. 2:13 “Do so because my people have committed a double wrong: they have rejected me, the fountain of life-giving water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water.”
– Jeremiah 2:12-13
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.
– John 7:37-39
If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old
has gone, the new has come!
– 2 Corinthians 5.17
I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters
– 2 Corinthians 6:18
In the previous lesson we discovered that our lives really do matter. They matter because God has created us, knows us intimately, and loves each of us with limitless perfection. God’s love for us is an unchanging, bedrock reality, but sadly, it is not the only reality in play in our lives.
In this lesson, we will continue to look at God’s love, but we will reflect on how we can enter into that love given our spiritual waywardness and rebellion against Him. Our rebellion against God is often a hard truth to accept about ourselves, but it is clearly taught in the Bible, has been witnessed throughout history, and each of us can testify personally to its power in our lives. In short, each of us expresses a tendency (not just a capacity) to deny Him, to suppress His truth, and to challenge His holy and rightful claim on our lives. We say “no” to God, seeking at the same time to rise up and occupy the central place in the universe – a place reserved for Him alone.
So, let’s dig in and see how God has made a way for us to experience pardon, reconciliation with Him, and renewal.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me that my life matters to you. Thank you for demonstrating that to me through your Son who died for me, substituting his life for mine, receiving the penalty for sin due me. Please help me understand this more and give all of myself to all I know of you in Christ.”
- Read Mark 7:1-23. What does Jesus teach about religious observance and how it can get in the way of a genuine relationship with God?
- If Jesus is correct, are we good enough to secure God’s blessing on our own? Reflect on Titus 3:5.
- Read Hebrews 9:27-28. What happens to each person after death (v. 27)? What is the solution in Hebrews 9:28?
- According to Ephesians 2:8-9, is it by our own striving, inherent goodness, or specific achievements that we become Christians? Compare John 1:12-13.
- How can we enter into a relationship with the God who made us, knows us better than we know ourselves, and has (1) explained our sin to us, and (2) has invited and summoned us to return to him?
Building on the Basics
“Each of Us”
Read Isaiah 53:6 and describe what the author says about sin (“iniquity”).1 Are Isaiah’s comments true of everyone? See Romans 3:23.
What Does Sin Actually Look Like?
- Read Romans 1:18-23. What is at the “heart” of sin or what do we typically do when God makes Himself known to us? Compare Jeremiah 2:12-13.
- According to Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, what are some “specific acts” of sin? Are there certain sins in Paul’s list that you more easily identify with?2
What Does God Think about Our Sin?
- Read Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27 and 10:26-31. Contemplate Hebrews 10:26-31 for a while. Try to put yourself in God’s shoes, so to speak. Record your thoughts.
But Jesus Offers Reconciliation to God
Read 1 Peter 3:18. How does Peter refer to Christ and then to us? Why did Christ die on the cross?
Pray through Romans 5:8 for a moment. Record any thoughts you have.
Surrendering to Christ – Trusting Him for Real!
Read John 3:16. Why did God send His Son into the world?
What is true for those who genuinely believe (turn from their own way and trust) in Jesus? What do they receive? (John 1:12; 5:24; 17:3; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 John 5:11-13; Compare Acts 17:31)
Real, genuine faith in Christ produces an internal desire to abandon our sin (idols) and to live for God, i.e., to know Him and to seek to please Him in all respects.
- Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Through what means do we enter salvation and by what means are we unable to enter salvation?
- Read Romans 4:4-5. What is Paul contrasting? How does this apply to you?
- Read Ephesians 2:10. What is the fruit of saving faith?
- What is the “Great Exchange”? Reflect on 2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.
Abba Father: Sons and Daughters with Standing!
If you’ve read John 1:12 above, you probably noted that when we receive or welcome Christ as the Lord of our lives, we become children of God and dearly loved by Him. We become his adopted-in-Christ sons and daughters. Read Galatians 4:4-7. (For our new standing with God, read Romans 5:1-5 and 8:12-17).3 If you have turned from your sin and trusted Christ for pardon and renewal, then you are now a son or daughter of God. From all that you’ve learned in this lesson, what does it mean to you to be a son or daughter of God? How does this relate to what you learned in lesson 1 about God’s care for you?
In this lesson we focused on how to enter into God’s love, even though we are rebels at heart. It is only through heart-felt repentance and a living faith in Christ Himself (because of His death and resurrection) that we enter God’s pardoning and renewing love. By His grace alone! We were running from Him; now we run to Him, joyfully calling Him “Abba, Father!”
As we continue to learn more about our Guide – the exalted Lord Jesus Himself! – we need to dive further into His character. It is through the further revelation of His character that our faith grows, as we learn why we can and should trust Him. That’s the point of the next lesson.
- When Isaiah refers to “our own way”, he is referring to “our own way apart from God”. This is called sin; it involves abandoning God in our lives. Every time we sin, we abandon God and his ways, substituting instead our own wisdom and ways, and incurring the resulting pain, suffering and estrangement that this entails.
- See also Romans 1:28-32; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Eph 4:25-32; Col 3:5-11.
- Note: the term abba (“Father”) is a term indicating endearment or relational closeness.