The Power of the Personal Pronoun

My daughter is 2 1/2 years old. She pretty much makes my day every time I walk through the door after a long day of work. Every day when I come home she runs up to me, grabs my leg and screams with delight, “daddy, daddy, daddy, my daddy.” She repeatedly says “my daddy is home.”

My daughter has caused me to think about the precious nature of the personal pronoun. “Daddy” is great, but “my Daddy” is even better. It communicates ownership, possession, and the uniqueness of the relationship. She is expressing that of all the dad’s out there I am the one that belongs to her. All of this in the little pronoun “my.”

It is believed that Martin Luther once said, “The Christian faith is a matter of personal pronouns.” The richest personal pronouns in Scripture denote a dual ownership between God and his people. We belong to God and God belongs to us. We are his people and he is our God. God’s people are his inheritance and God is the inheritance of his people. Luther said,

“Read with great emphasis these words, ‘me,’ ‘for me,’ and accustom yourself to accept and apply to yourself this  ‘me’ with certain faith. The words OUR, US, FOR US, ought to be written in golden letters — the man who does not believe them is not a Christian.”

Luther also identified how important it is that the personal pronoun be connected to the cross-work of Jesus. He states,

“Note especially the pronoun ‘our’ and its significance. You will readily grant that Christ gave Himself for the sins of Peter, Paul, and others who were worthy of such grace. But feeling low, you find it hard to believe that Christ gave Himself for your sins. Our feelings shy at a personal application of the pronoun ‘our,’ and we refuse to have anything to do with God until we have made ourselves worthy by good deeds.”

Every day I come through the door my daughter is teaching me an invaluable lesson about God. He is “my Father.” Through the work of of his Son he is delighted to hear that designation from my mouth—that’s amazing. The joy I feel every day is a small fragment of God’s joy over the people he calls his own. This is a mutual delight, a reciprocal joy. God is delighted to call us his people and we are overjoyed to call him our God. All this because Jesus made our sins his own.

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