Monday, June 9, 2014

What if I Don't Feel Like God's Child?

Part 6 of Authentic, a series on 1 John

Text: 1 John 2:28-3:10

You can listen to this sermon here.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God (3:2). 

Am I Good Enough?

Some of the world’s most talented people struggle with insecurity. Musician Taylor Swift has said, “I doubt myself 400,000 times per 10-minute interval.” Actor and rapper Will Smith has admitted, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.” Actress Kate Winslet has confessed, “Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this; I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me.”

Many Christians struggle with insecurity. They think, “If I don’t feel like a child of God, maybe I’m not. Maybe I never was.” What if I don’t feel like God’s child? Why do we sometimes doubt that we are God’s children? We struggle to obey God, and we think we might not be good enough.

Nobody is good enough to be a child of God. 

But we can be God’s children because of what Christ did for us, not what we do for God. “To all who did receive [Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 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; cf. 3:3).

Reassuring God's Imperfect Children

In 2:28-3:10, John gives us three truths about God’s imperfect children.

1. God’s children aren’t perfect, but we are loved by God. 

We should be amazed by the love of God for us: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (3:1). God’s kind of love is a sacrificial love. He demonstrated his love for us by sending his Son to die for us (4:9-10). God’s kind of love is also an unending love. God will never un-adopt his children. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39).

2. God’s children aren’t perfect, but we have the desire to be perfect. 

John writes, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning” (3:8). He’s not saying that God’s children never sin (see 1:9; 2:1). A common interpretation is that John is referring to habitual sin. Another possibility is that John is confronting people who claim that God’s children are free to sin. God’s children don’t desire to rebel against our Father.

3. God’s children aren’t perfect, but we will be made perfect by God. 

John refers to two appearings of Jesus: a first appearing (3:5, 8) and a second appearing (2:28; 3:2). “When [Christ] appears we shall be like him” (3:2). We will be “like” Jesus, not identical to him. Like Jesus, we will be morally perfect. This is the consummation of our salvation. We are “predestined to be conformed to the image of [God’s] Son” (Rom. 8:29). For the child of God, the coming of Christ is something to desire, not dread: “we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (2:28; cf. 1 Thess. 4:8; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Peter 4:13).

The Imposter Syndrome

Some insecure celebrities might have what is known as the imposter syndrome. According to Wikipedia, the imposter syndrome “is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”

Sometimes I don’t feel like a child of God. I feel like an imposter. I struggle to obey God. But the good news is that being a child of God is not based on my performance. It’s based on God’s grace. Christ died for all of my sins. I am trusting in what he has done for me, not in what I am doing for God.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God”!

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