The Bible is clear that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into God's family. Our status is that of an heir, a son or daughter. We're not just registrants in a club; we are members of a loving family. We are wanted, accepted, and loved. But we also have responsibilities, just as family members do.
What does it mean to be a child of God, a member of his family? Walk through the following passages with your group. After reading through the passages, use the discussion questions. You might also want to pose the application ideas to your group members.
When we put our trust in Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation, we become his children. "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
When we work for peace, we represent God's family well. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).
God's children are meant to live in unity with one another. "And not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one" (John 11:52).
God's children don't just sit there—they follow the Spirit. "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God" (Romans 8:14).
The physical world needs the intervention and attention of God's children. "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed … that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:19, 21).
We become children of God not by earning God's favor, but through faith in Jesus. "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith" (Galatians 3:26).
Our witness as God's family points others toward God. "So that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky" (Philippians 2:15).
God loves his children extravagantly. "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1).
Although we are his children and deeply loved, God is forming us into something even better. "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).
As God's children, we are called to live in a way that reflects his character and values. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister" (1 John 3:10).
"This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands" (1 John 5:2).
- What do you think it means to be "led by the Spirit of God" (Romans 8:14)?
- What specific actions will you take today to be a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9)?
- How should simply knowing our identity as children of God change our attitudes? Our actions?
- How does God call his children to behave? Are there rules to follow? (See 1 John 3.)
Three Application Ideas
Take time each day to remind yourself of your true identity: you are a beloved child of God because he has chosen to love you. You may want to write it in your journal or put it on a note card where you can see it.
Talk to God as a little child might talk to a parent that is loved and trusted. There's no need to filter what you say or figure out the best approach. Just be yourself and tell him everything, even if it seems insignificant. He delights in hearing from you.
As you see yourself as a child of God, begin to see others in your group as children of God, too. Treat them as fellow family members, and extend God's love.