2,700 words – M. A. LaClair
A friend called me after having had a discussion on a current hot topic with her sister. Her sister had made a retaliating statement, “After all, we are all children of God.” The sister was claiming that criminals and terrorists were, after all, children of God, too.
They were both so adamant that my friend felt she had to finally just hang up on her sister. Needless to say my friend was looking for consolation and support for the viewpoint which she knew to be right; but, had neither the resources nor the strength to argue at that moment. My immediate statement to her was, “I remember when I was not a child of God because I remember when I became one, don’t you?” “Well, of COURSE!”, she said. Isn’t it funny that we seldom realize just how dirty something was until it has been cleaned? Or realize how clean the air can be once one quits smoking? She said that’s the same way with us spiritually. We don’t realize that we aren’t children of God until we become one. We went to the Scriptures to try to confirm this position and found that Jesus dealt with this same topic during His days on earth.
“He came to that which belonged to Him (to His own—His domain, creation, things, world), and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.
But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority [power, privilege, right] to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in [adhere to, trust in, and rely on] His name.
Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh, [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]
This tells us that we are not automatically children of God but that we have to become children of God. We are all God’s creation at conception and are not a child of God until we make a conscious decision to try to follow Him, to believe in His Son Jesus Christ and accept Jesus the Christ as the Lord and Savior of our life, turning our will and thoughts over to Him. Abraham did not eventually slay Isaac because he surrendered his own will and listened intently, moment by moment, to the voice of the Lord. Does my friend’s sister have proper claim to call criminals, murderers, terrorists or any other sinner for that matter ‘children of God’ when they are not trying to follow His ways and the ways of Abraham? To clear up the subject of infants right now, let us remember we are speaking to adults here. We may belong to God at conception but soon lose our way in this sinful world, probably when we start to make ‘intelligent’ choices on ‘our own’. The age of reason is about six years old. Jesus said “LET the little children come unto Me.” That clarified, we move on. WHO WE LISTEN TO AND OBEY…IS OUR FATHER
“31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “IF you were Abraham’s children you would do what Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. 41 You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies 45 But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (RSV)
Jesus begins the discussion with a talk on truth and freedom in John 8 v.31. The people think they are already free (v.33). Jesus replies: “I tell you for certain that anyone who sins is a slave of sin! And slaves don’t stay in the family forever…” (Go back…Are we catching that ‘forever’ part)? The people respond, “Abraham is our father!” – this they thought made them automatic members of the family of God by way of physical heritage. People today might try to argue membership in a specific church as the qualifier, or parents’ faith as a qualifier. Yet Jesus replies, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did…but you are doing exactly what your father does.”…meaning we are owned by whomever we obey. Remember He is speaking to murderers, specifically, those who wanted to, and did, murder Him in the flesh—(but he rose bodily from the grave and He comes again to us now in the Spirit). Do we dare call criminals and terrorists who agree with murder and hatred, or any other bold sinner, children of God when Jesus says those who murder, or think of murder, who continue in sin and do not listen to God, are children of the devil? Still they replied that God was their father, making them children of God in their own minds. Jesus adroitly replies: John 8 v. 42
“IF God were your father, you would love me…v.44 BUT your father is the devil and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar…he speaks on his own…v 47 Anyone who belongs to God will listen to His message, and because you refuse to listen you don’t belong to God.”
There it is: God’s qualifier is listening to God and not speaking so much on our own.
“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!” RSV
“…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” NIV
Scripture goes even further when in an instance of correction Jesus says even to Peter; “Get thee behind me Satan, you are thinking of things from man’s point of view, not God’s.” (Matt. 1:23; Mark 8:33; Luke 4:8) This is Jesus confirming the importance of lining our thoughts up with God’s thoughts. We have yet something more: God’s definition of Satanism, thinking of things from man’s point of view. And it can even affect the church and some preachers…it deals with thoughts. Yes, thoughts. God said it to Peter. Lord, save us from our own pre-conceived ideas and false teachings. We may think we are children of God; but God may not be thinking the same as we think. Food for thought here. Lord Jesus, take my thoughts and give me Yours. Lord Jesus, take my thoughts and give me Yours. Lord Jesus, take my thoughts and give me Yours. Lord Jesus take the readers thoughts and give them Yours.
1 John 3:8-10 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” NIV God says there are qualifiers. Best we investigate our own status before Jesus chastises us as He did Peter and the temple scribes and Pharisees of His day. But if he does, would we be able to accept His correction? Or might we argue with God just as the Pharisees did? Even so, I have found that God encourages lively discussion with Him. So why don’t you have a little talk with Jesus today?
Try talking to God and saying to Him: “Lord I want to know the truth, I don’t have time to check out the fallacies of all the religions of the world; Lead me into pure Truth, Your Truth now, Lord. If indeed Jesus is your Son come to earth, help me to investigate and discover Him and your truths now. And if this is true, I want to know Him and His Holy Spirit; I desire a relationship with you in this world. I want to become a child of God Lord. Come into my heart now and teach me, help me to become the person you want me to be and may we be patient with each other as I learn from you. Teach me how to listen to your voice, Lord. Thank you for being my Savior, for dying for my sins, I want you to also be the Lord of my life, both now and forever.” God believes in free choice. We must choose Jesus, otherwise the devil chooses us, for Satan does not believe in free choice, he will push his will on us; God wants us to desire His will, God believes in free choice, and we must consciously choose Him. We are to account for our choices, whether Godly or not. And remember, no choice is a choice. James 1:5 is the ask for wisdom scripture: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” RSV God tells us over one hundred times in Scripture that He wants us to know Him – in other words, it IS possible. To know Him is to love Him; to love Him is to obey Him; to obey Him is to be content and prosperous. Contentment and prospering in a relationship with Him is His goal for us. And isn’t that our goal, also? The road we take to reach that goal can be long or short – it depends on whether we go our way erroneously thinking we are a child of God, or whether we take His hand and let Him lead us there to the right spiritual Father, ultimately believing and trusting in His son, Jesus the Christ. It is an individual choice, not an ideology. Cont’d. SIN AND THE CHILD OF GOD 1 John 3:4-9 “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” NKJV For a believer, unrepentant sin puts us “out of fellowship” with God. If we presume upon Grace and continue unrepentant in the habits of sin, we displease Him and are only presuming upon Grace; if we let our brother continue in sin we do not love our brother, for unconfessed sins, both known and unknown, can lead to death. What do YOU do when someone presumes upon you? Hos 4:6 ” my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (from NIV)
Love the person but discourage the acts of sin and disobedience; for love for God is proven by acts of obedience. We must think of it not so much as obedience to a set of laws but rather we should think of it as a returning of love to Him, giving Him the gifts which He desires, rather than giving Him the gifts we’d prefer to give. Believers are not to sin but we do sin and we have an advocate, Jesus. 1 John 2:1-6 “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (if they accept that fact) “And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says “I know him: but disobeys his commandments is a liar; and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him; he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” RSV THE BROAD WAY AND THE NARROW WAY Not all people are going to heaven. There is a heaven, there is a hell and it is mentioned at least 52 times in the Bible, 22 of those times in the New Testament, most by Jesus Himself. There is a hell, just as there is a heaven. Without justice, there would be no mercy – mercy from what? Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV) Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days…,” AMP Thank you for taking the time to read this – may God awaken more fullness of His truths within you each day as you read Scripture, contemplate and ask Him to open your eyes to the wonders of His Holy Word. I have tried to use a common sense approach to solve this issue; to those who may wish a more scholarly approach may I suggest clicking on the following links. Links on How To Be Born Again: http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/mobile/?gclid=CMn6-Kqso7kCFQ2f4AodSEoAGA http://www.livingwaters.com/good/AreYouGood.html https://www.faithcenteredresources.com/salvation.asp?gclid=CIyWoNCso7kCFQ2Z4AodYQUA9A Links on – Are We All Children of God? http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/are-all-persons-people-children-of-god.htm https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1025-are-all-people-children-of-god http://www.gotquestions.org/all-God-children.html http://www.gotquestions.org/all-God-children.html#ixzz2cPw9prNg http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gods_children.html keep in mind that N.T. readings listed herein are addressed to believers in Christ; and, OT readings 1. either speak of two groups, or 2. not applying to the common people, or 3. speak to a specific group, Further thoughts: Is Satan a child of God, or is he a creation of God having gone awry, gone amuck? ? Are Satan’s followers children of God, or children of the devil, such as: Pol Pot, Asama BinLaden, Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, Baby Doc Duvalier, Charles Manson, Jim Jones of The People’s Temple, and the list can go on. Are these children of God or children of the devil who comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy? God’s creation can go astray through free will. Our free will should be yielded to God by choice. “Take my will, no longer mine, take my will, Lord, and make it Thine” should start and end each day. Therefore: “Are we all children of God simply because we are alive? No.” some clipart images are from: http://www.christart.com/clipart/ some clipart images are from: www.wpclipart.com Thanks for reading. Have a blessed day!