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If you want an answer from some men, the answer is “Yes.” If you want an answer from God, the answer is “No.”
It is commonly believed that all people are children of God. This statement is usually, though not always, made when there is a religious discussion, and when there tends to be controversy or disagreement. I think that many make this statement because they want to be no less than any other, or they don’t want the next person to think that he or she is somehow spiritually superior. Also, it is nice, and preferred, to think that we are children of God.
God has a chosen people for His own pleasure, which He jealously treasures.
Is it true that everybody is a child of God, or is it not? I think that if it is true, we have less to be concerned about than if it is not true. Why? Is it not true that parents generally will take good care of their own children far above that of the children of others? Parents protect, nurture, and provide for their own. They do not do so for their neighbors’ children or those of strangers, unless expressly given the right and/or the responsibility to do so. If it is true that some are God’s children, and some are not, and if it is true that those who are His children are much better taken care of, then it could make a difference to those who are not. It could be an explanation as to why things are not going as well for them as they would like.
Some will argue that God loves and takes care of all. Certainly, if it were not for the Creator and Source of all things, not a creature would have even breath. The Bible is replete with testimony of how all things come from, and depend upon Him every moment for their existence. Yet God has a chosen people for His own pleasure, and for chosen duties, which He jealously treasures and keeps. Liken it to a car dealer who has many cars for sale or rent. Yet he has a favored car, with preferred features, that he keeps for himself, and which he enjoys whenever he can.
In one sense, it is true that we are all children of God, in that we were created by Him, and made in His image. We all have attributes that we could only have if created in His image. In that sense, we are all “brethren,” cut from the same cloth, one no better than another. However, what does God Himself have to say about who are His children and who are not? It is written:
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
Clearly, if this testimony is true, and it is, then there are those who are children of God in a way that others are not. What makes the difference? Here is another testimony to explain:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again’” (John 3:3-7).
If they did not know Him, they were not His children.
The apostle Paul, a Jew chosen of God to be His child, His disciple, and an apostle, wrote this to other children of God, believers at Rome:
“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you. Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:9-17).
To Paul, it was not a matter of opinion or speculation. He knew what he was talking about. He had, as have all true believers, met the Lord Jesus Christ, Who prepared and commissioned him to preach the good news of salvation to all men, particularly to the Gentiles, who did not know the Lord Jesus Christ. If they did not know Him, it follows that they were not His children, for children normally know their parents, and the parents their children. God “knows them that are His,” as the Scripture testifies. Jesus, for example, said:
“To Him the porter opens; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:3-5).
There are not a few who think they can develop their own new person, or the “Christ consciousness within.” They think they, by their own power and will, can be as God themselves, that they are their own god, by spiritual nature, and thus capable of fulfilling their destinies as gods. For millennia, many have tried to attain unto perfection by asceticism, by meditation, by mental concentration, yoga, fasting, prayer, diet, drugs, and by good deeds. They have sought, and continue to seek, for spiritual fulfilment by following a guru, a shaman, or some other kind of spiritual mentor.
They have tried by joining to some spiritual community like a monastic or religious order, by studying various religions and materials on spiritual development. (Do take note that rarely do people search and study the Bible when seeking to find their own way). Many have turned to channeling (communicating with the spirit world), necromancy (communicating with the dead), witchcraft, séances, levitation, soul travel, sweat lodges, and other ways of developing “the inner person.”
Jesus said we must be born again. What part did you play in your first birth?
In these last days, many, especially those disgruntled and disillusioned with false Christianity, but others as well, are pursuing Judaism, enthralled with ritual, and the mysticism of a foreign and ancient language (the language of the Bible, no less). They discover writings they think to have hidden knowledge, and which offer spiritual fulfilment that the Bible on its own presumably cannot deliver in full.
All these end in ultimate failure, many in tragedy. It is impossible to “lift one’s self up by his own bootstraps.” We all need a savior, and Jesus Christ is He, and none other. While Jesus Christ has been known to save many, never has Buddha, or Krishna, or Mohammed, or any other been known to save even one. Jesus Christ is their Savior too. Only God can revive. Only He can bring life. Only He can raise the dead. The Bible clearly teaches that all of mankind is dead, in the trespassing of God’s laws, in sin. Jesus Christ is the One prophesied of, by many Old Testament prophets and wise men (a matter of record, and not interpretation or speculation) to give His life a ransom for all, and to redeem all from sin and death.
Jesus said we must be born again. Let me ask you: “What part did you play in your first birth? Did you make any decisions? Were your parents somewhat ahead of you? Were you even aware of what was happening, how much more what you were doing?” You don’t remember? When you were completely out of control on your first birth, how can you presume to give birth to yourself? It doesn’t happen.
When the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary, conceiving in her the One Who would be called the Savior of all mankind, even she had no control over the matter. The One born in her was made subject to circumstances beyond Him. How much more are we incapable of our spiritual birth!
Do those who are children of God have something to boast of? Can and do they think they are better than everyone else? No, not at all. There are those who think they are born again, and who think they are better, but if they were genuinely born again from above, by God’s Spirit, they would not think they were better. By nature, if children of God, they would know that whatever happened to them, they did not have any part in making it happen. Therefore, they know they have nothing to brag about, nothing to gloat about. Moreover, they are keenly aware of their responsibility toward God and man, and must submit to that responsibility, or suffer consequences reserved particularly for children of God. As it is written:
“You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.” (Deuteronomy 8:5).
Those who are not His children do not receive the same degree of discipline.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:6-8).
Those who are not His children do not receive the same degree or kind of discipline. Children of God are called to faith, to purity, chastity, holiness, godliness, and to right doing and thinking. This is all required of them while they live in a world full of temptation and evil, a world fully set to oppose them, because it hates them. Yes, they, as children of God, are hated by the world, because the world hates God. God says so:
“If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:19-20).
“Marvel not, My brothers, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13).
“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” (Matthew 10:24-25).
“The world cannot hate you [they didn’t yet have His Spirit]; but Me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go you up to this feast: I do not go up yet to this feast; for My time is not yet full come” (John 7:7-8).
There are many who profess to be children of God, and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If they think they are better than you are, if they habitually mistreat you, if they are not hated by the world, if they do not confess Jesus Christ openly before the world, if they are no different than others who live in the world and who do not profess Christ, then they are very likely not children of God. There are many such people.
If you are a child of God, go on! Don’t quit; you have much to look forward to.
Are true children of God without fault? No. They still have the being of the first birth, that which the Bible calls the flesh, the carnal or earthy man. They still have the faults, infirmities, weaknesses, hang-ups, problems, and yes, sins with which they must struggle and which they must overcome. When they are born again, it is the beginning and not the arrival of the journey, at times to their dismay. But it is a start, a rare start, a momentous start, and one with great and SURE hope of spiritual fulfilment. They are called to victory in the truest sense of the word. And if God is for them, who can be against them? The true child of God is ultimately undefeatable. All praise, honor, worship, power and glory to God the Father, through the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, God of gods! His sons shall be as Him! Halleluyah!
Is being a child of God all about getting hated and spanked? Is it all about sorrow and suffering? While those are very definite elements to be expected, there is much good too, and good that will overwhelmingly outweigh the “bad.” If you are a child of God, go on! Don’t quit; don’t be discouraged. You have much to look forward to. God promises so. The Bible is again full of true and sure promises. Truly, there is no life outside of Jesus Christ. One can only know that if one has been on both sides. For me to go back to what I was before I became a child of God, in spite of having been hated, ostracized, disciplined, rebuked and chastened, losing family, fortune and friends would be like eating my own vomit. That’s right. I would sooner eat my own vomit.
If you are not a child of God, yet are seeking for what is right, and good, and worthwhile, you will only find it in Jesus Christ, your Lord and mine. As it is written:
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whosoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11).
Are you afraid He won’t accept you?
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13).
“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him” (Acts 10:34-35).
Jesus is the Answer, sinner, both yours and mine. Believe, repent (come out of your life of sin and ways you know are wrong), come to Him, and He will start your life anew.
In His service,