Cultures and religions around the world have traditionally drawn an analogy between the Creator as a father figure and humans as His children. As the Apostle Paul waits in Athens for Silas and Timothy, he addresses those he finds in the Aeropagus, a local pagan temple. Paul, as the commensurate evangelist, connects with his listeners by quoting an Athenian poet, “… as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ “ (Acts 17:28 NASB).
In Adam, the analogy holds true. God created Adam and mankind shares Adam’s lineage and nature. The Apostle John speaks of Jesus as the “true light” which coming into the world, sheds light on every man, (John 1:9). The Gospel is not selective; wherever the Word is preached and regardless of its reception, it enlightens the hearers. By definition, “truth” is fact and God’s Word is true. Though every person in the world is enlightened because of Christ’s visitation, only those who receive Him as God’s Son are given the revolutionary power to become God’s children, in reality.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even 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 1:10-14 NASB).
Though all humans are children of God in a fleshly sense, sin limits our inheritance to this earth. The Father invites us to be reborn as His children in a very real, heavenly realm.
Children by Faith
John 1:12 makes it clear that there is a deeper relationship available with our Father through Jesus. Through faith in Christ, we have been given the right, the power, and the privilege to become children of God. This is not a parable; this is not a story. This is not a metaphor comparing our relationship to God as a figure of speech, “just like children to their father.” This is a spiritual fact. We receive Jesus as God’s Son; consequently, God gives us the power to become His children.
“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” (Hebrews 4:2 NASB).
Children by the Holy Spirit
God sees all things and knows all things. By definition, He understands every facet of His spiritual and natural creation. In contrast, the human mind cannot help but see from an earthly perspective; it’s all we know. In our present state, we take in the spiritual world as though we were looking through a funhouse mirror. No matter how hard we strain to think deeper thoughts, we are limited by our human frame. For the moment, we cannot see as God sees; we cannot know what God knows. Thank God, He teaches us through the Holy Spirit.
It is only through the revelation of His Holy Spirit that we see spiritual realities. In Caesarea Philippi, Peter recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, (Matthew 16:16). Jesus blesses Peter because the Father in heaven revealed that reality to Peter. When Jesus teaches near Capernaum, the masses turn away because they cannot understand. He exhorts His disciples,
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63 NASB)
The extent of our right and power to become children of God is far beyond our comprehension. It is the Spirit that fills our hearts and minds and testifies of the reality of our position in Christ.
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 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, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:14-17 NASB).
Children with an Inheritance
The Holy Spirit testifies that we are heirs also. We are heirs of God and heirs with Christ. Have you ever heard of a “Last Will and Testament?” A Last Will and Testament is a legal covenant that specifies who will receive the property and possessions of a deceased person. Hebrews the ninth chapter describes Christ as the tabernacle, the high priest and the perfect offering for sin. We read,
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14 KJV).
Again, this is a spiritual reality; it is not a parable. When Jesus died, He left a “Will.” Jesus’ death was accompanied by a covenant with God.
“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” (Hebrews 9:16-17 KJV).
We are not only God’s children, but we are heirs of Christ’s death. The New Covenant is Christ’s Last Will and Testament. It is His “Last Will” because he has forever fulfilled the sacrifice for sin. It is His Testament because we have a Covenant with God for our inheritance in Him.
“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9: 15 KJV).