CHILDREN OF GOD

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Opening Prayer

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins and give us, we beseech thee, the liberty of that abundant life which thou hast manifested to us in thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.BCP 164

 

TEXT 

John 1:6-13 NJB

A man came, sent by God. His name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world. He was in the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognize him. He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself.

 

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Thus doth God himself answer that weighty question what it is to be born of God…It is so to believe in God through Christ as ‘not to commit sin’, and to enjoy, at all times and in all places, that ‘peace of God which passeth all understanding’. It is so to hope in God through the Son of his love as to have not only the ‘testimony of a good conscience’, but also ‘the Spirit of God bearing witness with your spirits that ye are children of God’: whence cannot but spring the ‘rejoicing evermore in him through whom ye have received the atonement’. It is so to love God, who hath thus loved you, as you never did love any creature: so that ye are constrained to love all men as yourselves; with a love not only ever-burning in your hearts, but flaming out in all your actions and conversations, and making your whole life one ‘labour of love’, one continued obedience to those commands, ‘be ye merciful, as God is merciful’; ‘Be ye holy, as I the Lord am holy’; ‘Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’

— John Wesley, “The Marks of the New Birth”

 

Prayer of Response

Amen, Lord Jesus! May everyone who prepareth his heart yet again to seek thy face receive again that Spirit of adoption, and cry out, Abba, Father! Let him now again have power to believe in thy name as to become a child of God; as to know and feel he hath redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins’, and that he ‘cannot commit sin, because he is born of God’. Let him be now ‘begotten again unto a living hope’, so as to ‘purify himself, as thou art pure’! And ‘because he is a son’, let the Spirit of love and of glory rest upon him, cleansing him ‘from all filthiness of flesh and spirit’, and teaching him to ‘perfect holiness in the fear of God’!

— John Wesley, “The Marks of the New Birth”

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