There's a lie, founded on the illiteracy of Scripture, many people believe.
"All people are God's children."
Many conclude that what makes you a child of God is your identity as a human. According to this view, everyone from Adam to the youngest of lives is lumped into the family of God. Despite the popularity of this belief, it's not founded by Scripture.
Children of Wrath
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." Ephesians 2:1-3
Prior to conversion, Paul calls all people "children of wrath." This is mankind's natural state from the moment we're born. Our unregenerate actions display this truth as clearly as the above passage. Apart from Christ, we chase after sin and hunt down the fulfillment of our fleshly desires like a lion hunts his prey.
Sure, we are image bearers, but that doesn't make us children. Scripture is clear: only those who are born again are children of God.
Identified with Christ
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 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
In his Gospel, John affirms an important truth. When we turn from our sin and trust in Jesus alone to save us, He gives us the right to become children of God and heirs with Him. Being physically alive isn't what identifies us with Christ; we must be spiritually alive. Identification with Jesus means we are dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6).
Only those who have placed their faith in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit who "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:16). These passages are exclusive, offered only to those who are the elect.
God is not a Father to nonbelievers; He is Judge over them.
"If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts." Psalm 7:12-13
God only welcomes us on the basis of faith in His Son.
"...for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Galatians 3:26-29
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Romans 8:14
Furthermore, the Bible puts it rather simply: those who turn from sin are children of God, while those who live in habitual sin are children of the Devil.
"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:9-10
Adopted for Life
Gone are our days as an orphan. Those of us who identify with Christ are adopted forever. We're no longer children of wrath but grafted in to the family of God. He is our Heavenly Father whom we can run to as a daughter runs to her earthly father.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7
He is our Abba, our Daddy. Nothing can snatch us from his hand (John 10:29). We are adopted for life through the blood of Christ.
About the Author
Brittany Allen is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and momma to two in Heaven. She exists to bring God glory and prays her writing is an avenue for that. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically and thrives on seeing women open up their hearts to the Savior and to other women around them.