Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | April 25, 2006

Children of God

I had the pleasure this Sunday of hearing a wonderful sermon about God being our Father.  We can claim Him as Father based on our adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.  I don’t think that we understand the significance of this special status, especially with the common presupposition that is promoted by the world.  There is this notion in the world that assumes the universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of men.  Although, this is somewhat true in that God is the Creator of the human race the testimony of Scripture does not affirm this concept.  We find a division in humanity from the very beginning between the seed of the women and the seed of the serpent (Gen 3:15).  This distinction of groups is further amplified when our Lord encounters the teachers of the Law in John 8.  He identifies the father of those who oppose Him as the devil.  Certainly, we cannot allow the world’s interpretation of God as Father to be applied to those who oppose Him.  It is antithetical to presume that a person can have God and the devil as their father at the same time. 

The reason this incorrect notion is allowed to be preserved among the world, must be attributed to their inability to take sin seriously.  And they diminish the severity of sin, because they do not understand the Holiness of God.  There is an assumption made that we cannot be perfect, thus God is obliged to tolerate our sin.  As a result, when the terrible severity of the bad news is diminished the magnificent grace of the good news doesn’t appear to be as magnificent.  An emphasis of the sermon this Sunday was to get us to realize the good news that is found in the Gospel message. 

This special status of being God’s children is such a great gift from God that He bestows on us freely.  Although, it is free for us it cost God the ultimate price to obtain in sparing His only true Son.  In order to secure the possibility for us to qualify for adoption, Christ sacrificed Himself on our behalf.  As a result, we should be all the more appreciative of this benefit we enjoy in being called God's Children.  Question 33 of the Heidelberg Catechism summarizes this truth as follows:   

Q. Why is he called God's "only Son” when we also are God's children? 

A. Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God. 1 We, however, are adopted children of God—adopted by grace through Christ. 2 

 1 John 1:1-3, 14, 18:   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God, but God the one and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.  Hebrews 1:  …but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe…
 2 John 1:12:  Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God… Romans 8:14-17: …because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship….Ephesians 1:5-6:  …he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
 

In the sermon this week it was interestingly pointed out that the revelation of God as Father is primarily included in the New Testament.  Apparently, there are only 7 references in the Old Testament of God as Father and they are pertaining to His status as Creator.  This further intensifies the gratitude that we should possess with this special status and the paradigm shift that was implemented through the Incarnation and New Covenant Epoch.  The people of the Old Covenant would not have dared to presume this special status for themselves and if they did they certainly did not take it lightly.  This reverence for God expressed by the people in the Old Covenant should be maintained by the people in the New.  We find this expressed by the Apostle John:           

How great is the love of the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1). 

Certainly, being on this side of the cross and possessing an additional 27 books of revelation we are more accountable than believers in the Old Covenant.  Therefore, let us consider this special status we possess and express our gratitude for this privilege.  Let us also endeavor to defend the true Gospel message of grace to correct the misunderstandings that exist among believers and unbelievers.    

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Responses

  1. Man is it hard to keep up with you!

    Do you see that original enmity in Gen 3:15 along with Jesus’ exegesis in John 8 to be the positive proof texts for reprobation? To put it another way, can those children of Satan somehow choose to switch sides?

  2. That is a difficult question and is probably few months ahead of schedule (when I get to the Canons of Dort).

    I believe that in the mind of God it probably is a positive proof text. However, there is a portion of the elects life span when they have not yet realized their adoption as children of God. Would you define the elect’s pre-conversion status as being children of God? Ephesians 2 calls us children of wrath.

  3. I was often subject to the wrath of my father.


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