Proof that we are His children

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Presence

I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me. (John 10:14)


 Earthly parents can speak at all their children at once but can only converse with one child at a time. They can only hold as many kids as fit in their arms and on their lap. But because God is uncreated, He is transcendent to His creation. That means He is external to us which allows Him to be with all of His creation all of the time. He is always with us. 

And whereas He spoke lower order creation into existence with His Word (Gen 1:1-25), He created man differently using the materials of His creation. He breathed life into Adam (Gen 2:7) and does so for us at our conception too. He continues to breathe life into us now while reading this! God is immanent, meaning He is in us by giving us His being, His existence, to keep us alive.

 As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6)

This is our wondrous God, always present to us not in a shadowy way but in a personal way. That presence is even more intimate due to our baptism which makes us children of God. Made in His image, we can now grow in His likeness. In his first letter, St. John explains that when one is purified by love through abiding in Him (3:1) and living this commandment of love (3:3, see also Jn 13:35), the child resembles Love Himself. It is the love given us by the Father (3:1) that shapes us so as to “be like Him” (3:2). 

When it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

That we are His children is meant literally not metaphorically. ‘Children’, as well as ‘sons’, was commonly-used Rabbinical wording of filial authority, emphasizing both the authority of the father and the equality of his children as members of the family. At the same time that John is using this language to refer to followers of Christ, he changes pronouns of God to ‘Him’ and ‘He’ which contains both Father and Son.  

In biblical times, God’s naming a thing caused it to be that which the name indicates for the word of God is efficacious, it does what it says it will do. Hence St. John’s adding ‘and so we are’ in this passage because by naming us His children, we then are.  However, many live in the name of Christian without living in that relationship with God. Augustine refers to these as ‘inhabiters’ of the world who make the world their house[1] . Only those who make their home in Jesus are saved (Jn 10:39, 15:6), and it is living in Truth Himself through the Spirit of Truth that sanctifies (Jn 17:17). Because of His equality with our Father, by abiding in Him we too become children of God (Jn 1:12). God’s children, the baptized, abide in Him, recognizing the Word through the Scriptures which are the Gate to the Shepherd’s fold (Jn 10:1-4). The ‘inhabiters’ of the world flee because they do not recognize His voice (Jn 10:5; 15:26-27) nor His Spirit in His children (1Jn 3:1). 

Jesus is our Good Shepherd Whose voice we know because It exists in our soul, directing us to Him in whispers. But we must choose to follow it and to remain in the fold by habits of virtue. Man’s movement towards God is a result of charity because it is charity that “unites man’s mind to God”[2]. As we exercise our natural virtues, charity increases in the soul. However, the enemy of human nature (as St. Ignatius calls the devil) implants evil from the beginning which is developed in man “from systems and relationships between individuals, classes, and nations—so as also to become ever more a structural sin, ever less identifiable as personal sin. In other words, so that man may feel in a certain sense ‘freed’ from sin but at the same time be ever more deeply immersed in it”[3] In other words, the culture indoctrinates us to think sin is good such that we don’t think we are sinning. Those ‘inhabiters of the world’ (as termed by Augustine) live the exterior Christian life but sin blocks the flow of love that would otherwise be ongoing into their soul[4]. They stand on the outskirts of the sheepfold fooled into thinking they are in it, or at least close enough to be safe/saved. 

In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)

Our faith and hope in God come from and with this confidence (1Pet 1:21). It is a familiarity that stems from familial love, from a Father whose sheepfold is large enough to hold all of humankind to the end of time. 

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊



[1]Augustine of Hippo, “Homilies on the First Epistle of John,”

[2]Aquinas, Summa II-II A24 A4

[3]John Paul II, Letter to Youth, 31 March 1985, 15, In Gavigan et al., 170-171

[4]Aquinas, Summa II-II Q24 A12



(Image by RosaryTeam, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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