Becoming One of God’s Children
SOME 30 years after the Korean War, the Korean Broadcasting System launched a program to help people locate family members who had been lost since the war. The result? Over 11,000 people were reunited with their loved ones—with tears, cries, hugs, and all. The Korea Times reported: “Never before in their history have the Korean people shed so many tears of joy spontaneously and simultaneously.”
In Brazil, Cézar was given away as a baby in payment for a debt. Some ten years later, he was so happy to find his real mother that he left his wealthy foster parents to live with her.
How family members rejoice when they find one another after being separated and lost! The Bible describes how humans were tragically separated from God’s family. It also tells how they are now being joyfully united. How did this happen? And how can you share in that joy?
How God’s Family Was Separated
Regarding Jehovah God, the Creator, the psalmist said: “With you is the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9) Jehovah is the Father of a large universal family of faithful intelligent creatures. That family consists of a heavenly part made up of angels, who are his spirit sons, and an earthly part made up of humans, who are to be his earthly children.
When God’s first human son, Adam, rebelled, as described in the preceding article, the human race was painfully separated from its loving Father and Creator. (Luke 3:38) This is because through his rebellion, Adam forfeited for himself and his yet unborn offspring the privilege of being children of God. Through his servant Moses, God described the consequences of what had happened: “They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not [God’s] children, the defect is their own.” “The defect,” or sinful nature, alienated humans from God, who is holy and perfect in every way. (Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; Isaiah 6:3) In a sense, then, mankind became lost, fatherless.—Ephesians 2:12.
To emphasize the extent of mankind’s isolation, the Bible refers to those outside God’s family as “enemies.” (Romans 5:8, 10) Separated from God, humankind has suffered under the harsh rule of Satan and the deadly effects of inherited sin and imperfection. (Romans 5:12; 1 John 5:19) Can sinful humans become part of God’s family? Can imperfect creatures become children of God in the fullest sense, the way Adam and Eve were before they sinned?
Gathering Separated Children
Lovingly, Jehovah made provisions for the benefit of imperfect people who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) The apostle Paul explains: “God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) As explained in the preceding article, Jehovah God provided Jesus Christ as a ransom for our sins. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) With appreciation, the apostle John wrote: “See what sort of love the Father has given us, so that we should be called children of God.” (1 John 3:1) Thus, a way was opened for obedient mankind to become part of Jehovah’s family once again.
Though all humans gathered into God’s family will enjoy wonderful unity under the care of their heavenly Father, note how the Bible describes them as being gathered into two groups. We read: “It is according to [God’s] good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Ephesians 1:9, 10) Why does God administer things in that manner?
The way Jehovah arranges his children in two groups actually contributes to the harmony of his family. It is not difficult to understand why. God’s family is so large that it can be likened to a nation. In any nation, a few are selected to form a government so that the rest can enjoy law and order. Of course, no human government has brought true peace, but God provides his family with a perfect government. The first group, “the things in the heavens,” consists of the children of God whom Jehovah selects to form a government, or Kingdom, in heaven. From there, “they are to rule as kings over the earth.”—Revelation 5:10.
Children of God on Earth
Jehovah is also gathering “the things on the earth,” that is, millions of people earth wide, in order that they can eventually become his earthly children. As a kind Father, he teaches them his ways of love so that, although they are from many nations, they are harmoniously united. Even people who are violent, selfish, immoral, and disobedient to God are being invited to “become reconciled to God.”—2 Corinthians 5:20.
What about those who reject God’s invitation to become reconciled to him as his children? To ensure peace and harmony in his family, Jehovah will take firm measures to deal with such ones. There will be a “day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7) God will cleanse the earth of rebellious ones. What relief that will bring to those who obey!—Psalm 37:10, 11.
A thousand years of peace will follow, during which all who respond to God’s love will be progressively restored to the perfection of life that Adam lost. Even the dead will be raised. (John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:6; 21:3, 4) Thus God will fulfill his promise: “The [human] creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Romans 8:21.
Becoming United With Your Father
Cézar and the thousands of Koreans mentioned at the beginning of this article had to take action to enjoy a reunion of their families. Those people in Korea had to join the program, and Cézar left his foster parents. Similarly, you may have to take decisive action to become reconciled to your heavenly Father, Jehovah God, and to enjoy being part of his family. What should you do?
To draw close to God as your Father, you must study his Word, the Bible, so as to develop strong faith in him and in his promises. You will learn to trust that what God tells you to do is for your benefit. You will also need to accept God’s correction and discipline, for the Bible says to Christians: “God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is he that a father does not discipline?”—Hebrews 12:7.
Taking such steps will change your whole way of life. The Bible says: “You should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Ephesians 4:23, 24) Then follow the apostle Peter’s admonition: “As obedient children, do not let your characters be shaped any longer by the desires you cherished in your days of ignorance.”—1 Peter 1:14, The New English Bible.
Finding Your Real Family
When Cézar found his mother, he was overjoyed to learn that he also had a brother and a sister. Similarly, when you draw close to your heavenly Father, you will find that you have many brothers and sisters in the Christian congregation. As you associate with them, you may feel that they come to be closer to you than members of your own natural family.—Acts 28:14, 15; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
The invitation is open for you to be united with your real Father and your real brothers and sisters. The joy you will experience can be just as great as the joy experienced by Cézar and the thousands in Korea when they were reunited with their families.
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Cézar at age 19 with his mother
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Take steps to draw close to God