The People of God:God's Child --II
Sometimes the Bible speaks of members of the community of faith (God's child) individually; then it refers to God's "children" (plural) or God's "sons and daughters." Let's look at a few examples of this.
a. Isaiah 1:2-4:
"Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth!
for the Lord has spoken:
'I reared CHILDREN and brought them up,
but they rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner's manger,
but Israel does not know,
MY PEOPLE do not understand.
Ah, sinful nation,
a PEOPLE loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers,
CHILDREN given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.'"
Here God is a loving, patient, caring parent who raises his/her children with great love and concern, yet the children turn against the parent in rebellion and corruption.
b. Hosea 1:10:
"Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not MY PEOPLE,' they will be called 'CHILDREN of the living God.'"
Here God promises those who went into exile but repented and turned back to God that he would reverse the symbolic name of the third child born to Hosea and Gomer-- "Lo-Ammi," which means "Not my people," to "Ammi," which means "My People" (see Hosea 2:1, 23), so that individually they will be called "CHILDREN of God."
c. 2 Corinthians 6:17-18--In 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Paul is urging Christians to live a life different from that of the world and to be holy as God is holy. In this context, he says in verses 17-18:
"'Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.'
'I will be a Father to you,
and you will be MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, says the Lord Almighty.'"
Here Paul is referring to individual members of the community of faith as "sons and daughters" of God. God is our Parent, and we, individually, are his Children; collectively we are his Child.
[In the next "Blog," we will talk about some of the implications of this metaphor).