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Why Are Christians Called Children of God?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority of the Father, Part 11

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In an amazing display of His love and mercy, the Father is pleased to make us His children.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

Today’s big question: why are Christians called children of God?

God’s love for us is the reason He created mankind in the first place; He gave life to the first man, and thus, became the true Father of the human race. Then, although God clearly warned that the penalty for rebellion is death (Genesis 2:17), Adam and Eve chose to sin—they denied God’s position as their Father and brought themselves (and all mankind, their descendants) under God’s righteous judgment.

Just like Adam and Eve, each one of us has deliberately rejected the authority of the Father over our lives by choosing our own sinful ways (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6). Because of our sin, all humanity is under a death sentence. This death affects us physically (i.e., our bodies wear out and die), but even more significantly, it is a spiritual death—separation forever from God, who will not tolerate wickedness forever (Matthew 7:23).

So how can we be called the children of God, since all have sinned and are guilty before a holy God? Romans 6:23 gives us the answer: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ultimately, as today’s verse shows us, we can be called children of God because of the Father’s great love for us. It is only by the death and resurrection of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, that we can be redeemed and adopted as children of God—because He paid our penalty for sin, as Paul states, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God gave His only Son to die in our place so that we might be adopted as sons (Ephesians 1:5; cf. Galatians 4:4–5). As children of God, we have a place of glory with Jesus Christ.

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16–17; emphasis added)

God has promised that His children will be glorified together with Jesus Christ. What can possibly compare to this truth? It is wonderful beyond our understanding!

Today’s big idea: we have been adopted as God’s children because of His immense love for us.

What to pray: thank your heavenly Father for the glorious position we have as children of God and co-heirs with Christ!


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