By Pastor Michael Harman
St. Johns Lutheran Church
There is great comfort in First John 3:1. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” ESV.
God’s Word tells us we can’t earn His love. It’s given. A free gift. By His grace through faith in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ. What does that love move Him to do? He adopts us as His own children. We are declared inheritors of eternal life. Who says so? Me? No. God Himself names you and claims you as His child. And so we are.
Jesus tells us, when you pray, say: Father. And with these words, “Our Father” He gently invites us to believe He is our real Father and we are His real children, so that with all boldness and good faith we may go to Him as dear children ask their dear father. Christians pray OUR Father through Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.
Our true Father wants you to call Him by that Name. His Name. Father. He claimed you and called you as His child in Holy Baptism. He knows you. “Even calls me by my name,” we sing. He wants you to hallow His Name by writing, speaking, and singing the Word in truth and purity, leading a holy life according to it, believing His holy Word, and serving Him by serving your neighbors.
The world does not know Him. Because of sin, even your sin, there are accidents, arguments, diseases, disasters, wars, and woes. It may seem all the world is against you. You feel alone. You wonder where any of the 7,000 knees might be. Your life goes from bad to worse. You feel forsaken. The reason that the world does not know you is because it did not and does not know Him. But you know Him, and His promises.
Our Lord promises, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” “Lo, I am with you always” not just when it feels like the end of the world, but even when it is the End. A child of God walks through the valley of the shadow, not just walks into it to stay there. All who believe in Christ crucified for all their trespasses, raised for their justification, and ascended (celebrated May 26 this year, 40 days after Easter!) far above the heavens to fill all things and plead for them and for us will be saved. Jesus, the Only Way to the Father and only Name under heaven by which we can be saved.
Faithful Christians gather together regularly to hear God’s message of Law and Gospel, sin and grace. We receive His Word to us, respond in prayer and praise, and love our neighbors as ourselves in His strength and love. We have the privilege to rest in the comfort of the total forgiveness of Christ. What a blessing it is! He calls us His children. And so, we are! Amen.