If you've been around for awhile, you've heard me talk about this amazing change that occurs in Revelation, where the phrase "I will be their God...." suddenly ends in a new way. Instead of saying, "And they will be my people," John the Revelator says, "And they will be my children."
This remains one of the most stunning shifts in all of Scripture, a shift that captures my heart every time and takes my breath away. Because it's one of those promises that God keeps talking about, over and over and over again, in the Scriptures - they will be children of God. You will be children of God. And then, here we finally have it - we are children of God.
For years, I have loved this. But now...
Now, I have stumbled upon a verse in 1 John that the Lord Himself only knows how many times I have read right past, a verse that changes my understanding of this Scriptural shift that I so love. In 1 John 3, we are told that we are now children of God, "but we don't know what we will be."
In other words, we are already what God has promised, and promises, that we are - His children - but there is something even beyond this.
And that changes, well, everything.
It's hard to fathom, as my heart has gotten so wrapped up in all of this stuff about being a people for so long and finally, finally becoming children. And for a people who consistently relate to their God as their Father, who spend their whole lives wrestling with what it means for Him to be a good Father when so many of us struggled with broken fathers in the flesh, it seems like there could be nothing better, nothing greater than finally settling into our identity as children.
It seems like that's not all that there is, but it's the best that there is. Right? Like if we could finally just get to that place where we understand our role in the family dynamic, where we live in the household of God in such a way that we understand our belonging, where we lean into the good, good Fathership of God, well, isn't that where we would want to be?
This short passage in 1 John, these few words, stuck in my heart like glue, and I have wrestled with them. I was wondered what it means to be something other than a child of God, what it could possibly mean that John seems to imply that there is something more for us than being children of God, even when I have for so long read that as one of God's ultimate promises. There's something more than the more than I've let my heart lock onto for so long? There's something greater than this? There's something better than this?
And I've come to the conclusion that...John is right. There is something better than being children of God, and it doesn't require us to give up our sonship or daughtership at all; it doesn't require us to lose that sense of God as Father.
In fact, it builds upon it.