See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
All true worship begins with our adoption. All prayer, all praise, all singing — all of our relating to God — begins with being able to come to him as his children. That’s what Jesus won for us. When he went to the cross, he paid the immeasurable price of our adoption, to make us sons and daughters of the living God.
And so when he teaches us to pray in Matthew 6:9, he tells us come to God like this: “Our Father who art in heaven . . .”
There is infinite intimacy in that statement. Father in heaven. There’s transcendence (he is in heaven), yet an utter accessibility that he gives us as he calls us his sons and daughters.
Tim Keller says that when John, the author, says, “See what kind of love the Father has given,” he is asking, “From what planet or what world does this kind of love come?” It’s unlike anything we have ever seen. Unlike anything we could compare it to. It’s not from our world. It’s not like any love a human could give. It’s otherworldly, completely set apart.
And this is the kind of love that one version says the Father has lavished on us — that we should be called the children of God.
He Gave His Own Son
Don’t miss the hugeness in this statement. It has tremendous implications for us.
Jesus says that our Father in heaven is a good father. He’s not too busy for you. He’s not a deadbeat, absentee, disinterested dad. When we talk to him, we know he hears. When we pray, and ask, we know that he listens. And better yet, he always knows what is best for us. He provides our needs and shapes us and disciplines us, like a good father would his children. It makes him happy to do so because he delights in us. He actually wants us.
No one forced him to begrudgingly take us in. And there was nothing we could have done to earn it. No amount of good deeds or determination to do better could bring us into the family of God. We are his because he has made us his, and then bought us back. Not because we were born into a certain family or country or bloodline or spoke some magical words. But because, before the foundation of the world, God chose to adopt us in Christ.
And he did what he planned to do by giving his unique Son to take our place and to pay the debt that we owed. Our sin had earned us nothing but death and hell. But Jesus took our death and all the wrath of hell upon himself, and at the cross, he conquered it all so that we wouldn’t get what we deserve, but would receive grace upon grace.
He took what we deserved so that we would have what he deserved.
Worship is responding to God — who he is and what he has done. And the truth that God would give his own Son that he might make us his sons and daughters ought to produce awe and wonder and amazement in us. It ought to make us stop for a second — or for a Sunday morning — and say, How great is the love of the Father! How could we not sing? How could we not shout? How could we not respond, with all that we are, to all that he has done for us?
We need to be captivated by this truth, and let it produce a response of awe-filled adoration in us. What a glorious thing to say, “Our Father, hallowed be your name! Let your kingdom come, and your will be done here.”
May we begin to live in light of that glorious truth — that we are redeemed and adopted sons and daughters of the living God. He wants us. He is with us. And he is for us.
Let’s worship in light of that!