By David Ettinger @ ettingerwriting.com
What Are We?
I’m sure you have heard someone say, “We are all God’s children.” The idea is that all men and women, regardless of gender, race, or country of birth are equal. In general, this is true; God makes no distinction among people in the physical realm.
But is every human being a “child of God”? Does anyone making such a claim have a right to speak for God on this matter? What exactly are we in relation to God? Let’s take a look.
What All of Us Are
Let’s first find some common ground. A correct blanket statement regarding the human race would be, “As human beings, we are all God’s creation.”
John 1:3 tells us: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” This is clear cut; all people are God’s creation. Colossians 1:16 concurs: “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Of course, human beings are included in the “all things.”
As God’s creation, all people partake in God’s provision. Jesus speaks of this when He says, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). No matter what an individual believes, he or she comes under the tent of God’s oversight of planet Earth.
In the Book of Job, Eliphaz says of the wicked, “They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’ Yet it was He who filled their houses with good things” (22:17-18a). Here again we see God’s provision for His creation, be that creation good or evil.
Still, the question remains: Are all of God’s created beings also His children?
The Children of God
The key to this question is John 1:12: “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” There it is! Only those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are the children of God. Therefore, the children of God are a distinct group; all human beings are not the children of God, only those who know Christ.
In what sense are those who know Christ children of God? John 1:13 says: “… children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” We are children of God in the spiritual realm; nothing born of flesh is worthy of God without being spiritually transformed.
Because it is impossible for created beings to be “natural” children of God, we must be adopted. Romans 8:15 says: “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” The Greek term for “adoption to sonship” refers to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture (when the Church was created). Ephesians 1:5 echoes this truth: “He predestined us for adoption to sonship.”
Though adopted, we are full heirs of God’s blessings: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). What are we heirs of? In Matthew 19:29, Jesus tells His disciples: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” The rich young ruler recognized this when he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).
As children of God, we have an inheritance of eternal life. And though we age and decay, God gave us a “placeholder” securing our inheritance: “When you believed, you were marked in Him [Christ] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The Benefits of Being God’s Child
As God’s child – not merely His created being – you have special access to God: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Whenever you come to God in prayer, it is as if you knock on the door of His throne room, to which He responds, “Come in, My child, and tell me all that is on your heart.” As His child, be assured that God is listening to you. 1 John 5:14 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Special indeed!
Naturally, because you are God’s child, He is your Father: “And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). The Hebrew word Abba is an endearing and personal one, one that only His children can proclaim. When you come before God in prayer, feel free to address Him by this very intimate and affectionate title. (See also Galatians 4:6).
As God’s Child …
As a human being, you are God’s creation; having accepted Christ, you are a child of God (John 1:12). As God’s child, you can rest knowing that no matter what happens to you in this evil world, you can never be separated from your Father or stripped of the inheritance He has promised you. You are God’s child for eternity.