If you were to apply for a passport, you would need proof that you are who you say you are, such as a birth certificate. What about your heavenly passport? If you are one who prays: “Our Father … in heaven …” What proof do you have that God really is your heavenly father? Fortunately, God has certified the identity of his children.
What gives you the right to claim you are a child of God? “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even 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)
How could you become a child of God? Jesus said: “… truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:5-6, 16-17).
Only through the death and resurrection of Christ can you be born anew. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness …” (1 Peter 2:24)
You cannot fool God by your outward appearance. “… The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
You need a heart transplant to become a child of God. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
You cannot be a child of God and retain your worldly ways of thinking. “For those who are according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5).
“The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” is nothing compared to what God has for you. “In him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
When you become a child of God, he records your name in his “little black book.” “… nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into heaven, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)
As you take him at his word and obey his commands, you can be certain that God truly is your heavenly father. Once you are his child, he begins your training. Then you will begin to understand God’s great love for you and how he provides everything you need in life.
"From the Pulpit" runs on the Saturday faith pages and features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, contact Life Editor Meredith Williams at 701-429-1749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.