When I studied this week’s lesson, something jumped out at me that I just had to share, despite my intention of taking it easy after the recent birth of my baby. Studying John 8, I became intrigued by the Savior’s dialogue on being a child of God rather than a child of Satan. Since I had previously struggled with the idea of being a child of Christ, as put forth by King Benjamin in Mosiah 5:7, as well as the reverse of being a child of Satan (see Alma 5:39-41), today’s scripture study seemed to be an ideal time to explore the concept.
The passage in discussion basically begins in verse 33 and continues to the end of the chapter. The Jews claim that they are descended from Abraham, but Jesus tells them that if they were children of Abraham, they would do the works of Abraham (verse 39). Taking this to the next level, if we are children of Heavenly Father, we would do His works.
Of course we know that we are the spiritual children of Heavenly Father. In Primary – or in the missionary discussions – we learned that we were spiritually begotten or organized by Him in Heaven, and that same spirit inhabits our bodies. Thus we sing, “I Am a Child of God.” Yet we have the opportunity to be so much more than a spiritual child; we have the opportunity to spiritually be His child.
Christ tells us, “Ye do the deeds of your father” (John 8:41). He goes on to accuse the Jews of being children of the devil (verse 44). In Alma 5:41, “whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.” Thus we follow Satan when we obey his promptings to sin. Similarly, in Mosiah 5:7, those who listened to King Benjamin and entered into a covenant with Christ “shall be called the children of Christ, His sons and daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”
We have the chance to become the spiritual children of Christ, by obeying His words. We then can move from the position of servant – and a servant-master relationship – to the position as His child. As His child, our relationship will be stronger, and we will obey His commands not because He is our master but because we love Him. And as we love Him more and more, we will seek to become more obedient, which will inspire greater love… and so the cycle continues.
What a wonderful blessing, to be able to move from the position of a servant to that of a beloved child! What kind of change will that inspire in our relationship with Christ? How much stronger will our testimonies become? I confess to not fully understanding the potential inherent in my relationship with my Savior, but I look forward to improving and increasing it!