Read John 1:12-13
12 But to all who believed him and accepted him,he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn-not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan,but a birth that comes from God. (NLT)
For those of us with children,they will always be our children. Our parents always remain our parents. Our children may be delightful or delinquent. Our parents may be nice or neglectful. But nothing changes the essential status. The family remains family.
And yet how we behave in our families deeply affects those families. If my children scorn and despise me they remain my children. If my parents mistreat or malign me they remain my parents. However the family is not as it ought to be. Family life is disrupted. The family is an unhappy and dysfunctional family.
So it is with our membership of God’s family. The gospel reminds us that we enter God’s family through our embrace of what Jesus offers,namely mercy and pardon for our wrongdoing. Our once-for-all acceptance of this means we become God’s adopted children. Our subsequent wrongdoing doesn’t disqualify us from God’s family,though it spoils our enjoyment of it.
When I go astray from my Father’s ways he does not cease to be my father. I do not cease to be his child. Rather,I cease to take hold of all the blessings of that relationship. The relationship hasn’t ended,but is spoilt. My father will never stop loving me,but my failure to love him means his love for me does not engage and encourage me. I remain a child of my father and yet don’t feel quite at home.