“But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God…” (John 1:12, AMP)
These days, many people are talking about privilege. We hear people railing against ‘white privilege’ or ‘economic privilege,’ but they are overlooking the greatest privilege of all. ‘White privilege,’ is, as they say, ‘small potatoes’ in comparison to the greatest privilege of all and ‘economic privilege’ can disappear in a moment, but there is a privilege that is available to everyone of any race, age, male or female, or economic status. I know this because I am a child of God and there is no greater privilege than that. Everything else is an illusion that may not last, but privilege and security are ours as a member of God’s family.
We do not deny or overlook the fact that there are injustices and inequalities in our world, but the answers are to be found in us and what we have been given as heirs of our heavenly father. There is no reason to have a sense of guilt over privileges that we have been given through no effort or choice of our own. Likewise, there is nothing that we can do to earn the privilege of being God’s children. We can only “receive and welcome Him.” It is an undeserved privilege. “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2, NLT)
Paul, who wrote those words, was the beneficiary of many privileges which he listed in Philippians 3:1-6. Additionally, he had status and privilege as a Roman citizen, but he wrote off all those privileges as a loss for the sake of Christ. He went on to say, “To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.” (Philippians 3:8, TPT). He discovered the greatest privilege of all, a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The greatest privilege of all functions differently than any earthly privilege. Remember that Jesus said that the greatest would be those who are servants. True wealth does not consist of what one possesses and that to live one must die. In fact, the kingdom of God turns this world system of privilege upside down so that what is on the top is really on the bottom and vice versa.
“Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God.” (James 2:5, The Message). The greatest privilege of all does not go to those that this world considers worthy, but instead, it goes to the humble and those for whom the world has little regard.
There is another feature of the greatest privilege of all that many might not consider a privilege at all. “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” (Philippians 1:29, NLT). What did you say? You might need to repeat that. Suffering for Jesus is a privilege?
Well yes, it is! We may not like to talk about it or think about it, but we should not only consider it a great privilege to suffer for Christ, we should also consider it as something that is absolutely necessary for our maturity and growth. (See 1 Peter 4:1, Hebrews 10:34, Hebrews 11:24-25, 2 Timothy 1:8, Philippians 3:10)
I know that some, if they are still reading at this point, may have come to the conclusion that the privilege of being a child of God is not what they thought it was going to be. In fact, to some, it does not even sound like a privilege anymore, but instead something that they would like to avoid. To reject the privilege of being a child of God because we cannot reconcile it with suffering is sad and shortsighted.
To repeat, the privileges of this present life are fleeting and temporal, but the privileges of being children of God are eternal. Do not sacrifice short-term advantages for long-term gain. “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18, CSB)
Let us receive and embrace “The Greatest Privilege of All.”