The Word: Exclusive Rights

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As all 5th graders know, that’s from the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Our founders believed God had granted these rights to every single human being.

book2_350But God grants another right not listed in that document – and contrary to what many of us think, it’s not a right he gives to everyone. He only gives this special right to people who “receive him” and “believe in his name.” More specifically, it is a God-given right limited to those who believe Jesus is God and receive him as Savior. Those who do not believe Jesus is God don’t get this right. Those who do not receive Jesus as their only hope to be with God do not get this right. Believe and receive, John says.

Then and only then will Jesus give us the right to be God’s children, to be included in his own family, to belong with him in heaven forever. It is not a right we earn. And we do not make ourselves God’s children by believing and receiving. We are given the right and God immediately signs the adoption papers. We are his kids now.

Think: How do you feel about the idea that the right to be God’s child is not given freely to everyone no matter what they believe? Are you grateful to God for adopting you?

Pray: Thank God for helping you to believe in Jesus’ name and to receive him as the only way to be with God forever. (If you haven’t done that, what are you waiting for?)

Do: Make a short list of your God-given rights, as best as you understand them.