555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

508. Are Any by Nature "Children of God"?

There is a large and true sense in which all mankind are children of God. Paul could say to the idolaters at Athens, "We are also his offspring." But there is a higher, closer, nearer sense in which regenerated men only are God's children. John says: "To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." Speaking pointedly to believers, he says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." So there is no discrepancy between Paul and John. The one is speaking of God's children in the large human sense, while the other speaks of them in the restricted, adopted sense. We have, in fact, to recognize four grades of sonship. In the lowest grade there is the whole human family. In the next higher grade we have the regenerated children, who are really children in the spirit. Then in the next grade, we have the angels, who in the Book of Job are specially designated the "Sons of God" (38:7). Then, highest of all, in a sense absolute, unapproachable, divine, we have Jesus Christ, pre-eminently God's own Son. There is no need, therefore, to stumble at the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God; only we need to distinguish between what is implied in the more outward and the more inward relationship.