“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
My God and giver of life, that is what I must do in order to be your child. I must receive. I cannot work, earn or merit my adoption. It is a gift that must be received through faith alone. What priceless grace it is to know that I am one of those who have received Jesus. I have received the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of the Savior!
Father, I delight that this is all of grace. As your word says so clearly: I was dead in my sins and an object of wrath. But because of the greatness of your love, you, who are full of mercy, made me alive. Sovereignly, not as a duty or obligation to any merit in me, but out of sheer grace, you gave me new life. Regeneration. Spiritual resurrection.
That resurrection of spiritual life has enabled me to have new eyes and ears. Now, I can hear your Spirit call. I hear him convict, and I hear him convince me that the gospel is true. Father, I am learning that regeneration is the source of my repentance and faith. For how would I have seen myself to be a wretched sinner in need of mercy without the new eyes that your Spirit has given?
Yes, my being a child of God is all of grace. And so why do I grow proud? Why do I live so often as if I have been born into the kingdom as the result of my own spiritual, intellectual or moral merits? Why do I act as if there were something commendable in me that caused you to choose me? Why do I look down upon those who are blind and deaf to spiritual things? I confess the arrogance of my flesh. I confess that in my sinful nature, I am blind to your grace and deaf to your kindness.
And so I pray that you would convict me afresh of the indwelling sin that refuses to live in the humble place—the sin that wants to be king of the hill. Remind me that the ground is level at the foot of the cross, where all kinds of sinners gather, as if in the same sinking boat, to receive the gift of rescue and salvation in the person of Jesus.
Your word says that all fall short of your glory, and that all are saved in the same way, with the same need for the propitiation of Jesus’ blood. Jesus, forgive me for being the Pharisee in Luke 18. Rather, may I be the man who went away from the temple justified, not because his prayer was so good or life so exemplary, but because he knew himself to be the sinner, not just a sinner. He knew that he needed the gospel personally, not just theoretically.
Today, I want to experience the gospel personally. I want to remember that I have been born again as a result of your will and not my own. I am a son by sheer grace. My rights as a son have been granted as a gift. But they are rights nonetheless. Rights to rest in the work of Jesus. Rights to come before you as my Abba. Rights to trust you as my King. Rights to share the good news to other sinners, who by grace, will come into the family because you have set your eternal, fatherly love upon them, too. Thank you, Abba, Father, for being such a saving, rescuing, adopting, and loving God.