Dear reader, at some time in your life, you probably heard that all people in the world are the children of God. Biblically, the man was made in God’s image; therefore, as the son bears the image of the father, so man bears the image of God, the source of all living. However, since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, that image has been corrupted. Man no longer loves God; neither does he obey and submit to His authority.
As a result of man’s turning away from God, it has become necessary for man to start over, so to speak, with God. Man must now receive Christ by faith, to become His child. The Apostle John, in chapter 1:12 of his Gospel, wrote it this way, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…”. He said, “…to become children of God…”; therefore, man is no longer born into this world a child of God, in the most real sense; He must become one.
The word received in verse 12 means, to take to oneself, lay hold upon, take possession of, i. e. to appropriate to oneself. You see, to be a child of God is not automatic, because to some extent, we resemble God, we must by the volition of our will receive Christ as Lord by faith. Therefore, the verse continues, “to those who believe in His name, who 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)
Belief is the crucial factor in the new birth, but here is the kicker, the hard reality to swallow; saving faith is not by the will of man but of God. What that means is this, the new birth is just like the first birth, in that it is first the sovereign choice of the benevolent God to give to lost men the gift of His saving grace. Only after a man is born again, given a new heart, can he by the volition of His faith receive Christ as Lord.
Therefore, God’s child is counseled in Hebrews, “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (12:2). Jesus is the author, not men. Men may think themselves in the kingdom of God, but deep down inside, where they won’t even admit to themselves, they have no assurance of salvation. A guarantee is for those adopted as sons and not for the presumptuous. “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…” (Romans 8:15, 16)
The Spirit of God does not testify to those who presume to take to themselves that which only God can give. Therefore, my dear reader, if you are born of God, by His sovereign choice and not merely your own, God’s word says, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1, 2)
People of the world assume in their favor; they like to imagine themselves in the kingdom of heaven. However, the world does not know the “we” and the “us” of 1 John 3:2, because it does not know Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not resting within worldly people, but in those who have been rescued from worldliness. “And this is eternal life, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).
The semantics of this post may seem like a FINE LINE, but if a person does not become a child of God correctly, sincerely, and savingly, they will stretch that FINE LINE into ETERNAL condemnation. Do you really want to take that chance?