Okay, it’s not the most disgusting thing advertised on television but no one should have to explain to his children why other children don’t know who their daddy is. But, there it was in all its prime time glory – an ad for a home DNA kit so one can identify his or her daddy.
That’s the world we live in. Absentee fatherhood is rampant in some segments. Serial divorce seems to be all the rage as adults try on first one and then another spouse, hoping to find the perfect mate. Friends are hooking up for buddy sex. Others are jumping from one bed to another with little or no thought for the consequences. The concerns over AIDS and STDs have had little long-term impact on
Theologically, many don’t know who their father is either. Some argue that all of mankind are the children of God. They’ve confused God’s role of universal creator with the 20th century liberal construct of the universal fatherhood of God. As if the fact that the Bible doesn’t teach this idea isn’t enough, anecdotal evidence ought to convince us this can’t be true. Too many who claim God as their father don’t have the DNA to prove it.
Sure, all of us possess the image of God, the imago Dei, but that image has been damaged by the fall. So damaged, in fact, that most people look nothing like God. Remember, the image of God is not a physical reality but a spiritual one. The problem is, those who’ve been created in the image of God, don’t act like Him. They don’t think like Him. At best, they’re distant relatives. At worst, there is no family resemblance. Their family tree has no spiritual roots.
Unfortunately, many Christians don’t fare much better. Rather than resembling their adoptive Father, they still look and act like their wicked and abusive stepfather, Satan. They’ve been brought into a new and wonderful family, they are truly the children of God now but they just can’t seem to shake their past. The language, the lust, the leftover sins of a previous lifetime linger over them like the stink on a dead possum on the side of the road. They’ve got a new Father but their DNA is still a genetic mess and they fail to recognize the symptoms.
God has given us a home test kit to determine our spiritual DNA – the Bible. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” On another occasion, he said, “By this they’ll know that you are mine, if you love one another.” A host of other biblical texts point to the same conclusion. You can tell who are the children of God by how they act. While good works might now save us, the lack of them ought to scare us.So, look in the mirror. Do you do the things God would do? Does your heart break over the things that break His heart? Are you jealous for His glory? Do you love the rest of the family of God? Is there a family resemblance? Who’s your daddy?
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About Peter Beck
Peter serves as assistant professor of religion at Charleston Southern University where he teaches church history and theology. While serving as senior pastor in Louisville, Ky., he completed his PhD in historic theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation, The Voice of Faith: Jonathan Edwards's Theology of Prayer, is soon to be published. He, his wife Melanie, and their two kids, Alex (12) and Karis (7), live near Charleston, SC. Peter's goal for his teaching and writing ministries is "love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5).
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