"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are!"
1 John 3:1
Can a disciple of Jesus, described by the Apostle John as a child of God, believe in only a physical reality? I personally do not think so.
John was addressing the difference between the way a Christian sees the spiritual/physical connections and the then current belief of many Greeks and Romans. A common belief was that there was a complete separation, a solid wall if you will, between physical existence and spiritual life. This meant that your bodily wants, desires and needs could be freely satisfied, with no impact upon your spiritual self. Behavior which John regarded as sinful and against God, then would be OK - as long as you maintained your spiritual faith. This attitude was beginning to infect some of the new Christian churches.
I have heard this same argument today: "If we church goers' separate ourselves from society, how can we attract members of that society into becoming members of our churches?"
John later remarks that those of this world who do not recognize God will not recognize us. We will be ridiculed, censured and avoided by society. When we recognize God as our Father, we are loved so deeply that we are called to be "The Children of God." Sisters and brothers to Jesus! When this sure, absolute hope enters your heart, life and mind, John says that you will see God.
The reality is that you are what you have faith in and what you worship. We are privileged to become God's children through our faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our sure faith in this fact means that our reality is to worship God, forever.
As Christians we live divided by two distinct realities. When I cut myself, it hurts and I bleed. Proof of my physical existence. When I find myself not following Jesus, I suffer great spiritual remorse and pain. Proof of my spiritual existence. We are charged to recognize God's reality in our everyday physical existence.
You were created for His purpose: to witness to the reality of who Jesus is and how this fact will impact a person's eternal spiritual life.
Hague is an elder at Bethel Linden Presbyterian Church.