The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Entitlement can be a tricky thing. I like to believe that the world owes me nothing. When I survey the scriptures, I see that this world in which we reside is unequivocally not of God. As such, what I expect in this place is opposition and trial. I cannot in good conscious walk around this place acting as if I should have this, that or the other because I deserve it. There is, however, a righteous entitlement that we gain through our relationship with God. It is his grace and his love that draws us to him, and it is only by God’s mercy that we are able to receive him. Yet, our decision to receive him makes us entitled to this precious right to become his children.
It is not presumption or a prideful act to call ourselves the children of God. He has conferred that right on us by virtue of our deciding to receive and follow him. This is our righteous entitlement. These verses tell us that Jesus was not accepted by his own. Those are the ones who were chosen by God and who had the right to call themselves his children. They were waiting for Messiah to come, but they rejected him when He arrived. As a result of that rejection, their right was extinguished. Now, those who were not his own, those who were not a part of the vine, gain the right to be a part of the vine when they accept him as his own should have accepted him. It is not simply an honor and a privilege to be called children of God. It is our right.
If I am to claim that I am the son of my father or mother, there is a method by which we determine whether I have the legal right to do so. I can make that claim about whomever I choose, but that is just a claim until it is substantiated by proof. Whether by documentation or biological testing, there is a way to confirm my birth and the rights that come with it. God has given us the legal right to be his children, which means that we benefit in every way that a child of his would benefit. It is not merely about saying we are his children but about living in every privilege and blessing that comes as a result of that right. Father, give us a new understanding of what it means to live according to our legal right to be called your children.