Childhood in God: not an award, but an exhortation

Are you already a child of God? Or do you first want to become one? A divine service by the Chief Apostle on a key concept of the New Apostolic faith.

“Today’s Bible text really is well known, something we really like. It talks about children of God.” This is how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider began his sermon in Backnang (Germany) on 19 November 2017. It was based on 1 John 3: 2: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Childhood in God in the making

“God is our Father. He is the Father of all human beings. He created them. He provides for them. He is very close to them,” the Chief Apostle explained. Our Bible text, however, refers to another aspect of childhood in God. Here it is used in connection with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Chief Apostle continued.

We have received life from God: His nature, the new creation. We have received something from the Father that we have not earned, he said. But He decided: “I will give it to him!” We have the possibility to inherit His kingdom, the Chief Apostle explained.

“We are not yet able to see it, the Chief Apostle continued. We have to believe in our election. No one can show us the proof supporting this. We also believe that the new creature exists in us, but it is still in the process of developing. And with regard to the divine inheritance, the Chief Apostle said: “For now it is still just a possibility. None of us have the guarantee that we will receive it.”

Childhood in God at work

“Divine childhood is not a status, an honour, or an award. It is an exhortation!” he said, emphasising it in three ways.

  • “Divine childhood is the faculty, the ability, to completely trust in the word of God and act accordingly. We put His word into practice. This is true trust in God. This is how we prove our love for God.”
  • “Chasing after the goal, after the inheritance, after the fellowship with God is also part of divine childhood: ‘I want to act, to be, to think, and to speak like Jesus Christ. I want to give up everything that separates me from Him.’”
  • “If we are children of God then we are also heirs—if we suffer with Christ. For Jesus Christ we are prepared to share suffering, that is, to have compassion for others. And we are prepared to do without many things.”

“Let us work with this!” the Chief Apostle invited the congregation. “One thing is sure: the Lord will return!”

Childhood in God accomplished

“All this will be revealed when He comes,” the Chief Apostle said. “We will be like Him. That does not of course mean that we will become God! Our body will be transfigured and we will receive the glorified body of Christ.”

There is more. We will be absolutely pure and holy, that is, perfect, because we will be totally free from sin and sinfulness. In closing the Chief Apostle said: “We will be with Him forever, have fellowship with Him, and be in immediate proximity to Jesus Christ and God.”

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, Divine service