My pastor preached about “Children of the Bible” on Sunday, and while it was a great sermon, in this blog, I want to focus on the part about being children of God. John 1:12-13 speaks of Jesus, saying, “But as many 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.”
In the physical world, we are all born in sin, because we inherit the sin nature from the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We read in Ephesians 2:1-5, “And you hath He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we had our conversation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
So then, what does it take to become a child of God? Nicodemus came to Jesus in the middle of the night, admitting that he knew Jesus was from God. In John 3:3-6, we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus saith unto 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, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 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.’”
Becoming a child of God requires faith. We must by faith accept that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and that He died for our sins. Once we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we must believe in the sacrifice He made on our behalf, paying the debt for our sins so that we might share in the promises of our Heavenly Father. Romans 4:24-25, referencing the faith of Abraham, which was imputed (attributed) to him for righteousness, states, “But to us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.” Having knowledge of Jesus alone is not enough to become a child of God. James 2:19 tells us in no uncertain terms, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Those who believe in God and accept that Jesus is the Son of God; who rely on Jesus for their salvation; who love Him and submit to His will for their lives; these are the ones who become the children of God.
After we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we must follow Him and live our lives according to the commandments of God. Our works do nothing to gain our salvation but are a sign to those in the world that we have accepted Christ as our personal Savior and have agreed to live by the Word of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” And in 1 John 3:7, we are told, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” Although we are human and make mistakes, those who are born again will continue to learn and grow as they put Jesus first in their lives, setting aside old habits and sins that keep them from a close relationship with their Savior. Just as a small child learns from his or her physical parents as they grow, so too do God’s children become more like Jesus as they continue in their spiritual growth.
1 John 3:1 tells us, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” As children of God, we can come to Him with all our concerns and needs. Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We also have eternal life with our Father and Savior to look forward to. 1 Peter 1:3-5 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Romans 8:9-14 tells us, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not 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 dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, 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, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
We are blessed to have a Father that loves us so much that He would sacrifice His only begotten Son so that we might have eternal life, and a Savior that loves us so much that He willingly laid down His life for us. So, let us set aside all unrighteousness, and by prayer and study of God’s word, draw closer to our Father, becoming Christlike in all that we say and do. Let us show by our words and our deeds that we truly are the children of God.
Grace and blessings on your path,