“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What’s in a name? It identifies you. It tells you where you came from and to whom you belong. My last name harkens back to my Italian heritage. But my last name doesn’t define who I am, though I do have a name that does just that: child of God.
Above all other names, all other titles I might have, none is greater than being called a child of God. With that title, it declares that I belong to God, that I have God’s name placed upon me. In Holy Baptism, God places His name upon you, forever marking you as one who belongs to Him. It means that I am God’s. Because I am God’s, I can’t help but sing, “God’s own child, I gladly say it, I am baptized in Christ!” (LSB 594:1)
It is not only one thing to be called a child of God but we should also live our lives as children of God. It means live like you are baptized because you are baptized. It means live as one who is forgiven for Christ’s sake because you are forgiven. It means to live as one for whom Christ has died. But know this: not only are you a child of God but so are others. It means that they are also the ones for whom Christ has died. This is as John writes: “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:11).
Great love has been shown to you by God through Jesus. Jesus comes and lays down His life so that you may have eternal life. Just as Christ has laid down His life for us, so we should be willing to lay down our lives for our neighbor: “By this, we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16) It is as Luther says, that we “help and support him in every physical need” (5th Commandment).
While God could condemn us and rightly should, He shows His great mercy in Jesus. Though we are not deserving, God sees fit to forgive us our sins out of love, so that we may be united to God once again. This is done for us by Jesus as He lays down His life so that we may take up eternal life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord God, heavenly Father, out of great love for Your creation, You have sent Jesus into creation to restore and unite man to You once again. Help us to show love to our neighbor, that we may help and support them in every need. In Jesus’ name, amen.
– Pastor Jared Tucher serves the dual-parish of St. John – Farmer’s Retreat in Dillsboro and St. Paul, Cross Plains, Indiana.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.