Is everyone a child of God?

Pastor Jermin shares a letter that he wrote to a friend who made that claim:

Regarding your assertion that the Bible ‘ultimately teaches that all of us are God’s children.’

The short response would be this: While the Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16),  it is equally clear that only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12;11:52; Romans 8:16;1 John 3:1-10).

The longer answer is :

Outside of the 10th through 13th verses of John Chapter 1, which say (as translated in the King James Bible or KJV) :

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

I can see where that would be a logical conclusion, especially in light of the many times that we see words like ‘all’ or ‘every’ or ‘world’.

The key becomes, in every case then, what the context of the Word usage is.

The only way to get to the intended meaning of a text (the only accurate meaning) is by asking and answering the following questions:

1) Who is speaking?

2) To Whom are they Speaking?

3) What was the intent?

A good example is the contention that God wants all people to be ‘saved’ using 2 Peter 3:9 as proof text. In the KJV, it is translated as: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The words any and all figure prominently here, and at first glance it is quite easy to see how the conclusion can be drawn.

But a more careful reading of the verse shows that the word ‘us-ward’ precedes ‘any’ and ‘all’. We’re then forced to ask the question: ‘Who are the ‘us’ of whom Peter speaks’?

Verse 1 of the Chapter has a clue:  It says: ‘This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance’

This means then, that this is a second letter. This implies then, that there is a first.

Thankfully we have that letter, and it is in the Canon of scripture. The Epistle of 1st Peter begins:  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

From this we can deduce the following re: 2 Peter 3:9 what he is really saying is: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward (the Elect of God) , not willing that any (of the Elect of God) should perish, but that all (of the Elect of God)  should come to repentance.

This is in keeping with the statements made by Jesus Christ (as recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is fairly clear that Jesus is not speaking of everyone in that he makes the distinction that ‘all that the Father Gives me’ will come, meaning of course, that not all people were given to Him by the Father. This is borne out by the fact that after the crucifixion and resurrection the Bible records fewer that 500 believers.

Jesus is even more succinct in the 8th Chapter of John’s Gospel, when in a discussion with the Pharisees, beginning at verse 39:

Our father is Abraham!” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”

“We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.”

Consider these other NT passages:

Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.  – Ephesians 1:5

The children of the flesh … are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.  – Romans 9:8

He that committeth sin is of the devil … Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.  – 1 John 3:8-10

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  – Romans 8:14

Now this does not mean that God does not Love everyone: As one of my favorite preachers, John MacArthur says:

“The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God’s attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love. We know from Scripture that God is compassionate, kind, generous, and good even to the most stubborn sinners. Who can deny that these mercies flow out of God’s boundless love? Yet it is evident that they are showered even on unrepentant sinners.

Scripture clearly says that God is love. “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works” (Ps. 145:9). Christ even commands us to love our enemies, and the reason He gives is this: “In order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). The clear implication is that in some sense God loves His enemies. He loves both “the evil and the good,” both “the righteous and the unrighteous” in precisely the same sense we are commanded to love our enemies.

In fact, the second greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31; cf. Lev. 19:18), is a commandment for us to love everyone. We can be certain the scope of this commandment is universal, because Luke 10 records that a lawyer, “wishing to justify himself … said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Lk. 10:29)—and Jesus answered with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The point? Even Samaritans, a semi-pagan race who had utterly corrupted Jewish worship and whom the Jews generally detested as enemies of God, were neighbors whom they were commanded to love. In other words, the command to love one’s “neighbor” applies to everyone. This love commanded here is clearly a universal, indiscriminate love.”
But it does not say that everyone is God’s Child.

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