Who exactly is a child of God?

Depending on who you ask, you may get a wide variety of answers. Some will say that everyone is a child of God and that we’re all a part of God’s great big family. Others will say that only a very select few people are children of God. Still others may not even have a category for what it means to be a child of God.

In order to answer this important question, we need to look at what the Bible says. In the Bible, we learn who the children of God are and how a person becomes a child of God.

Let’s take a closer look at what the Scriptures have to say.

Is Everyone A Child of God?

Let’s start by seeking to answer a very common question/assumption: is everyone a child of God?

Many people automatically assume that every person is a child of God. In the popular song “We Are The World”, a choir of well-known recording artists sang, “We're all a part of God's great big family.”

And there is some truth to this statement. Every man, woman, and child is created in the image of God.

In Genesis 1:26-27 we read:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

We are all children of God in the sense that we are all created in God’s image. Every person is valuable and precious because they are made by God.

But the Bible also makes it very clear that our sin separates us from God. Sin is offensive to God and He cannot allow any sin into His presence. Because He is holy and just, God must punish sin.

In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul describes our desperate state apart from the saving grace of God:

...dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

In our natural, sinful state, we are under the wrath of God. We cannot come to God freely because our sins cut us off from His presence. So while there is a sense in which every person is a child of God because they are created by God, there is another very real sense in which we are separated from God.

How Do You Become A Child of God?

If our sins against God cut us off from Him, how do we become children of God? The bad news is that there is nothing we can do to earn our way to God. We cannot do enough good deeds to wipe away all our sins.

The good news is that God has done what we could not. He took the initiative to rescue us from our sins and save us from His wrath.

He sent His only Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life in our place and then die on the cross for our sins. Jesus took in Himself the wrath of God that our sins deserve.

When we hope in Jesus to save us from our sins, God forgives all our sins and gives us the perfect righteousness of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 describes this supernatural process by saying,

“For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Pastor Adrian Rogers put it this way:

"How can He love and forgive the sinner and at the same time punish sin? The answer is: with a substitutionary sacrifice. Someone who takes that punishment on our behalf. A person who has known no sin Himself, righteous enough, holy enough, good enough, to become our substitute. Someone who can suffer in our stead. The only one who could do that was the Son of God. He is God’s substitutionary sacrifice—and our Savior."

In addition to forgiving all our sins and giving us the righteousness of Christ, God also adopts us into His family. We are welcomed into the family of God as beloved sons and daughters who have full access to the presence of God. Our sin no longer separates us from God. Rather, we can call God “Father” and relate to Him as children to a loving father.

Galatians 4:4-6 says:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

When these verses were written, the word “Abba” was an intimate term used between children and their father. We have the incredible privilege of relating to God in an intimate, close, familial way. God loves us so very much, more than even the most loving human father. We can come to Him freely and without fear, confident that our heavenly Father will welcome us.

1 John 3:1 says,

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

If you are a child of God, you can be absolutely confident that God deeply, profoundly loves you.

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The Benefits of Being A Child of God

The benefits of being a child of God are absolutely incredible and overwhelming.

Fellowship with God

The greatest benefit of being a child of God is fellowship with God. We were made to know God intimately, and He is the only one who can satisfy our souls. When we become children of God we experience that satisfying intimacy that we so desperately long for.

As it says in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Blessings from God

As our good and loving Father, God loves to pour out blessings on us. He provides for all our needs and always takes care of us. He leads us to green pastures and beside still waters.

As it says in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

Encouragement from God

In our weakness and weariness, God encourages and strengthens us. He comforts us when we’re downcast and empowers us to follow Him through trials and tribulations. When we feel like giving up, God comes alongside us and helps us keep going.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

An Inheritance from God

As children of God, we will receive an inheritance from Him. While we don’t know exactly all that is included in our inheritance, we can be sure that it will be greater than anything we could possibly imagine!

Hebrews 9:15 puts it this way,

“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

Blessed As Children of God

Isn’t it an incredible thing to be a child of God? We can sing along with the classic hymn which says:

"Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!"

If you are not a child of God, you can become one today! If you believe in Jesus Christ and hope in Him alone for salvation, God will forgive all your sins, clothe you in the righteousness of Christ, and adopt you as His child. Don’t wait any longer. Experience the joy of being a child of God today!

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