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July 2, 2012 / Pastor George Fike

So What ARE the Children of God?


[Re-printed from an earlier page]

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. – 1 John 3:2 (NIV)

In my last post, I reflected the identity of the children of God, and in this post I want to give a description – a what, if you will.

One of my acquaintances has suggested that God is a child abuser who would torture babies for eternity.  Some of this absurd reasoning perhaps comes from a misunderstanding of what the expression “God’s children” means.  There is a sense in which people think every human being is a child of God.  While it is true that every individual human being was formed “in the image of God,” not every individual IS His child.

Consider the words of God in Hosea:

“In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” Hosea 1:10b (NIV)

As we see here, God does not automatically claim fatherhood for every man and woman. So those who are suffering eternal punishment are NOT children of God.

The other aspect of this illustration is rendering those suffering as babies or young children.  This picture is by no means true.  I have two children, Rob and Steve.  When I say that you might picture small boys, but my sons are 27 and 24.  The 27-yr.-old is married and establishing his own household.  They are both adults and accountable as such. Yet they are still my children.  If I were a judge and one of my sons committed a crime in my precinct and had to stand before me for sentencing, I would have no choice but to adjudicate him as a responsible adult. I could not say, “He’s a child; he should not have to pay the price.”

There is no reason to think that there are small children, especially babies, roasting in hell.  For further study check out Albert Mohler’s writing here.  Those enduring the punishment of eternal separation from God are not children – they are morally responsible adults.  So let me get back to the point I started to make here and leave the discussion of heaven and hell for a later post.

We will be LIKE HIM!

How much more exciting can that be?  Here’s a quote from Hank Hanegraaff’s Has God Spoken?: Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration (Kindle Locations 5459-5463). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.  After each point (in italics), I will draw an implication (in bold).

Jesus demonstrated supernatural authority over sickness, the forces of nature, fallen angels, and even death itself. 

  • Matthew 4 records that Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching, preaching,“and healing every disease and sickness among the people” (4:23) – we will be vital!
  • Mark 4 documents Jesus rebuking the wind and the waves saying, “Quiet! Be still!” (4:39). – we will be at total peace!
  • In Luke 4 Jesus encountered a man possessed by an evil spirit and commanded the demon to “Come out of him!” (4:35). – we will be away from the presence of evil!
  • And in John 4, Jesus told a royal official whose son was close to death, “Your son will live” (4:50). – we will be indestructible!

A couple more of my favorite passages says this of the “children of God”:

  • …that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:15-16a (NIV)
  • Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3 (NIV)

So the children of God will certainly look the part!  I remember hearing an evangelist say we will all appear to be age 33 in heaven on the basis of this verse, because that’s how old Jesus was when he was crucified and resurrected.  I wouldn’t mind that.  33 was a good year for me, physically speaking.  I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I am assured that we will be at our best when we get to heaven.  Interestingly, Colton Burpo, the boy whose near-death experience has become a book Heaven is For Real, says old people in heaven look younger and children who died look older.  Maybe there’s something to it.

At any rate, we can believe the children of God, once we’re revealed, will be adults with adult responsibilities.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells 3 stories that illustrate the final state of believers and non-believers alike.  The bottom line is that the children of God and the children of the world/flesh/devil have this in common:  they are responsible before God for their decisions.

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