Well, we’ve officially made it to the end of our Theme Rewind blog series. Over the past ten weeks, we’ve been counting down to the new year and a brand-new theme for the summer of 2018. I want to thank all the Deer Run staff and alumni that helped make the series possible. If you missed any of the previous nine posts in the series, they’re all right here, just scroll down. The insights into the themes of the past nine summers from these current and former staff members have been deeply enriching to read and experience.
Don’t forget to check back in this Monday, January 1, for a blog from Ty Ford introducing the theme for the summer of 2018 to start off the 60th year of Camp Deer Run!
Now let’s talk about the summer of 2017. As we close the books on this year, it feels good to stop for a minute and look back at everything this summer held. I won’t even try to recount it all, but you can take my word for it that it was a great summer.
Instead, I just want to talk about the theme: I Am His.
At first glance, it’s simple. I belong to God, I am one of His children, easy enough. And in some ways, it is just that simple. At the core of each of our identities is the basic truth that we were created by God. We know that he created us. He made us in His image, according to Genesis 1:27. He knows each of us intimately, down to the number of hairs on our head as Jesus says in Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7. We belong to Him. But beyond that lies a more complex idea of identity, adoption, and inheritance.
God makes it clear through scripture that not everyone is a son or daughter of His. 1 John 3:10 says “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” It’s pretty clear here that unrighteous people are not God’s children; they are not his. In fact, John even goes so far as to say that “whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). We’re all sinners though, so does that mean we are all just out of luck? Of course not. Just before this, John says in 1 John 1:8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We become righteous by our faith in Jesus, and not only that, but we become children of God.
Faith in Christ is the one and only requirement for our adoption as children of God. Galatians 3:26 says “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” The gospel of John says “to all who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” So, we’re children of God through Jesus, but what’s the point? Why does it matter?
Paul gives us that answer in Galatians 4:4-6. “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
If we are adopted as sons of God, then we are heirs of God’s kingdom. According to Romans 8:17, we are co-heirs with Christ. That means that we will inherit what Christ, the Prince of the Kingdom of God, will inherit. We will join Him in heaven as fellow children of God eternally.
He chose us to be His children, “born not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” He loves us so much that he would save us from the destruction our sin deserves, and instead make us his children, and give us the keys to His kingdom.
If you know Jesus, if you believe in the sacrifice he made for you, then you are God’s beloved child. Not just because he made you, but because he chose you. He knew you, he knew your sin, and nevertheless, he chose you to be His son, His heir, His beloved.
This summer I learned that my true identity lies in the truth that I am a son of God. I am loved infinitely by the creator of the universe. He is my father. He is on my side.
I am His.