God Became Human to Make Us His Children

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Why did the Son of God become human? Because God loves us and wants to make us true children of God.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. (Galatians 4:4–5)

Okay, so . . .

Despite the fact that we were the ungrateful ones . . .

Despite the fact that we received the gift of life and relationship with God and then
rejected the Giver . . .

Despite the fact that it was we who messed up, God reestablished relationship, loving and caring for the people of Israel, and finally became a human in the person of Jesus Christ.

We broke the connection. But God reestablished it.

The question that we want to ask, though, is, “Why?” Why did God bother? Why didn’t God just write us off and go start another planet with more grateful and obedient people?

This question is important because we must remember that God is perfect. And this means that He’s perfectly good. A perfectly good person always understands what is wrong and hates it.

God hates sin. And, as the Bible teaches, God would have been perfectly justified in letting us experience the punishment for sin. All have sinned (Romans 3:23). And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

God could have just let us go.

But He didn’t. Again, we ask, “Why?”

Well, the answer here is given in the Bible. God loves the world he made (John 3:16). God loves us and isn’t willing to write us off when we disobey.

There’s a story that most of you are very familiar with from the gospel of Luke. A father had two sons: an older son and a younger son. And the younger son came to the father and told him he didn’t want to be his son anymore and asked for his share of the inheritance. The father gave the son his share of the money and the son left for a far off country, where he blew all the cash partying. Then broke and alone, the son became desperate, and headed back home to ask to be a slave in his father’s house. But the father saw the son from afar and ran to meet him. The father threw his best coat and his Rolex watch on the son and took his whole household out to a steakhouse to celebrate. He told his older son, “We have to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found again.”

The son was ungrateful to the father. He asked for his money and left. He told the
father he didn’t love him. But the father never stopped loving the son. And when the
son returned the father made him part of the family again.

That’s the story Jesus told in Luke 15. The parable of the prodigal (or “wasteful”) son. This story is like our story. We’re ungrateful and we abandon God. But God still loves us. Yet in our story God actually goes one step further. He sends His Son out to get us and bring us back. In our story we’re still living in that far off country when Jesus comes and finds us, pulls us out of the ditch, and asks us to come home again.

In order to understand why God acts like the father in the story of the prodigal son (in fact, acts even more generously than the father in that story), we have to understand what God’s motivation is, and His ultimate goal.

As Scripture clearly teaches, God’s motivation is love. Romans 5:8 teaches, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The rescue operation God carries out through Jesus is not just a momentary whim on God’s part. The incarnation is a demonstration of something deep in God. God loves us. Love goes so deep in God that the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). God cannot help but be loving. As we discussed before, the Trinity teaches us that love is fundamental to God’s very being.

But there’s more to it than this. To understand how God loves us, we need to understand the ultimate goal of His love toward us.

God’s goal is this: to make us family. As Galatians 4:5 teaches, the purpose of the incarnation is to give us “adoption to sonship.” We are to be re-adopted: no longer orphans without a loving father, but true sons and daughters of God.

That was what God wanted in the beginning. God loves us and people want to be with the things they love. God wants us with Him. He wants to have us participate in the life of God as family.

And that goal never changes.

And so when Jesus came, He offered the chance to come back with Him to God’s
house.

This is the ultimate reason the Son of God became incarnate. Jesus became like us so we could be His brothers and sisters, with God as our Father. This is why we read in John 1:12: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Enjoy this article? Then you’d love The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith, a catechism resource with videos for people of all ages. The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith is a visual introduction to the core beliefs of the Christian faith. While it assumes no background knowledge of the scriptures or church teachings, this eight-week study is stocked with rich explanation and engaging videos that bring catechesis to life for people of all ages, backgrounds, and stops along their spiritual journey. Like all books, it is possible to read this one alone, but it is designed specifically to be studied in community—to lead small and large groups through the big ideas of the faith. The memory verses, catechism, text, and videos in each lesson work together seamlessly to provide a clear, compelling introduction to Christian belief.

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Philip Tallon is an Assistant Professor of Theology at Houston Baptist University, where he is the chair of the Department of Apologetics, and a faculty member of the Honors College. He is the author of The Poetics of Evil:Toward an Aesthetic Theodicy and co-editor of The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes (with David Baggett). He also has a new book coming out from Seedbed, The Absolute Basics of the Christian Faith. You can find him on Twitter: @philiptallon.

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