People like to say, “Everyone is a child of God.” However, although this statements makes it way into American religious-sentimentality, it is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible is clear that, far from being God’s beloved children, all people are born as His enemies with a great hatred for Him and His rule.
What is God’s response to Mankind’s sinful, rebellious hatred? Wrath. God hates those who hate what is good. God hates those who hate Him (Psalm 5:4-6; 11:5). Ephesians 2:3 says it clear as day, outside of the grace of God in Jesus, all people are “by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Those who rebel against God in their sin are not children of God’s kindness, but children of His wrath.
However, here is where the gospel becomes unbelievably good. Only when we plumb the depth of our sin and the plight that it results in will we realize the immensity of what God has done in Jesus.
God has made a way for sinners to receive His kindness and affection instead of His wrath. The Apostle John said, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). In love, God has done something to clear Man of His sin and satisfy His own wrath against their sin. In love, God has worked for the good of His enemies; those He is repulsed by. All this, God has done by the cross of Jesus. The cross satisfies God wrath and cleanses Man of sin. In one stroke of almighty power, God flattened the mountains of Man’s sin and His own wrath and thus reconciled Mankind to Himself.
However, the sin clearing and wrath satisfying aspects of the cross are only the beginning. The cross is a diamond with innumerable facets. It is a tree on which infinite fruit hangs. In addition to satisfying the wrath of God and clearing Man of his, the cross also provides the glorious benefit of adoption.
What does it mean to be adopted? Bruce Demarest, in his book The Cross & Salvation, unpacks what adoption means for believers.
- We now bear a new name and a new identity as “children of God” (1 John 3:1).
- As adopted children we experience the intimate indwelling of God’s Spirit. “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6).
- Adoption into the family of God assures that we are objects of His special care and provision from the heavenly Father (Luke 11:11-13).
- As members of God’s family we have the right and privilege of bold access into the Father’s presence (Hebrews 4:14-16; cf. 2:10-13).
- This new, adopted status means that God lovingly disciplines and chastens believers as a human father would his own children (Hebrews 12:7-8).
- Adoption into God’s family of God means that we are heirs of the Father’s eternal Kingdom and glory (Romans 8:17).
Man is born an enemy of God in His sin, but because of God’s love in the cross, God makes people born again as His beloved and adopted child. Not everyone is born a child of God, but everyone born again is. Through His One and Only Son by nature, God has made an astounding number of sons & daughters by grace.