I’ve heard many people say that we’re all God’s children. Is that true?
No. The idea of the universal fatherhood of God is just one more way to get around the biblical fact that you must be born again to be saved and become a son or daughter of God. But so many people go right on believing this lie—that regardless of how they live their lives, they are all God’s children and, in the end, all will be saved and make heaven their eternal home. But that’s not what the Bible says. God’s children are those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
But Aren’t All People Created In God’s Image?
It was the plan of God that Adam and Eve and all who would follow them would bring sons and daughters of God into the world. But due to the fall, Adam could only beget sons and daughters in his own likeness, which refers to his fallen, sinful nature: “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image” (Gen. 5:3). Adam no longer had the image of God; the “likeness” and “image” was now after Satan.
But thank God, He made a way for every man, woman, boy, and girl to be born again into His family. The Bible says, “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 1:12-13).
Millions have received Christ as a great teacher or miracle worker, but Jesus must be received as God—who He actually is. He also must be received as God manifest in the flesh and as the perfect sacrifice offered at Calvary for the sin of man, which satisfied heavenly justice and took the full penalty of the law in our place. Faith in Christ and what He did is an absolute requirement for salvation.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find sinners referred to as children of God. Yet many people cling to the train of thought, “We’re all God’s children, and He is a loving God. He came to save everybody.” But again, that thinking does not line up with how the Bible defines a child of God.
I John 3:10 reads, “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
John is telling us that there will be a certain manifestation as it regards who is a child of God and who is a child of the devil. For the child of God, that manifestation is righteousness and love. Children of the devil have neither love nor righteousness.
Christ is the righteousness of God. In other words, God’s righteousness is not a philosophy, a theory, a church, or a law. God’s righteousness is a person—the Lord Jesus Christ. The righteousness of Christ is the only righteousness that God will accept. As well, the Lord makes the righteousness of Christ available to all who have simple faith in Him, admit that they have no righteousness of their own, and are totally dependent on God for everything. Believing in what Jesus did at Calvary and the resurrection affords one instant righteousness, which is referred to as imputed righteousness. In other words, God imputes to the believing sinner that which he does not have, and which in no way he can have, at least within himself. It is a free gift and must be freely received.
Also in I John 3:10, the apostle draws a decisive circle about “the children of God” and presents them as being separated from “the children of the devil.” They are separated at the very source— their respective fathers. One is the heavenly Father, God, and the other the devil. In John 8:44, Jesus said to the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Although this fatherly source is itself secret and invisible, the tangible, visible evidence is plain: love and the absence of love. It could be said that righteousness and love are inseparable. And since they are inseparable in the character of God and in His revelation in Christ, so they must be inseparable in the lives of His people.
How Can I Be Certain I’m A Child Of God?
Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Our own spirit tells us we are God’s children, but the voice with which it speaks is prompted and inspired by the divine Spirit Himself. Note the present tense of the words in this verse, “we are.” That means right now. What the Spirit witnesses to us is something far higher than the mere knowledge of a philosophy, or even a personal experience we may have had. While personal experiences in the Lord are of extreme importance and never to be demeaned (if they are scriptural) still, the witness of the Spirit transcends all feelings and means that it is stamped in the legal standing of the Word of God. It is a certitude of the Spirit’s presence and work continually within us, which takes us not only from experience to experience but from faith to faith. It is manifested in His comforting us, His stirring us to prayer, His reproof of our sins, and His drawing us to works of love to bear testimony before the world.
I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”
Only “the love” the one that John urges—the love of one Christian toward another—is from God. It is the love of our fellowship with one another that results from our fellowship with God and with His Son Jesus Christ. There is no need to worry about our loving also our neighbor who is not a Christian. God loves all men and yet loves His children in a special way by bestowing all manner of loving gifts on us. He loves us in a way in which He cannot love the wicked.
The phrase, “and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God,” evidences our origin from God, our birth into God’s family as His children, and proves that we are no longer the children of the devil.
I Thessalonians 5:5 says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” The child of God is in a totally different sphere of operation. The believer is in the world, but never to be of the world. Christ, in totality, is our sufficiency. From Him, we derive all things, and “in him we live, and move, and have our being…For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). Praise God!