Yes! It’s my belief that in the person of Jesus, God has embraced all of us, and whatever shape our journeys take, they take place WITHIN that embrace. God has taken the journey to US, so to speak, and calls us to hear Him tell us who He is.
Hi apprising, thanks for engaging me on this topic! I would argue that the essence of Christ’s work in the Incarnation is that he bound the human race to himself in his very nature, making us participants in his sonship with the Father. The idea that one person’s unbelief could UNDO that–it doesn’t ring true for me. After all, Christ “is the savior of all men, especially those who believe.” Your thoughts?
I understand the objection, and I agree that believing the gospel is essential if a person is to experience life as an adopted child of the Father. But I disagree that we can do anything to cause God to adopt us. I would argue that adoption is the one reason humanity was created (Eph 1.5), and that Jesus has accomplished this purpose without our assistance. If our work of believing is what binds us to God, then we are all screwed, because I’ve never heard of a person who is capable of perfect belief.
“Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” (Rom 5.18).
“But I disagree that we can do anything to cause God to adopt us.”
Who said that; not me. I said believing the gospel is essential if a person is to experience life as an adopted child of the Father.
Romans is written to the Church. Those who do not believe are not children of God by your own words John.
Forgive me for my lack of clarity: What I’m suggesting is that the entire human race has been adopted into Christ’s sonship, but that not everyone necessarily experiences this reality. Some have heard the good news of their adoption in Christ, but “the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4.2). Our beliefs do not affect the fact of adoption, but they have a dramatic effect on our experience of life with God. If we believe he hates us and has rejected us, our experience of His presence is quite unpleasant. When we do not trust our Father to be who He says He is, the result is the inability to love the One who has embraced us forever.
They’re not our brothers and sisters until they’re reborn in Christ. Otherwise, they’re distant cousins, and “offspring” of God.
Appreciating the feedback, Andy. I have the same issues with your thoughts here as I have with apprising’s thoughts above. I believe we fall prey to a subtle kind of self-salvation-by-works when we think our act of believing causes God to turn us into his children.
I agree with Jesus on this point. I’m not aware of anything I’ve said that would contradict this. It’s possible to be a beloved child of God and still die in your sins. It is the saddest thing I can imagine.
It just might be possible that some of this confusion comes from the Scriptures using the phrases son of God, child of God etc. in different ways with different meanings. Why was Adam, the guy who was part of the Fall, called a son of God in Luke? Search Genesis and tell me where Adam repented. Angels are called sons of God. Why? Because they were created? We don’t see any angels repenting in order to be called ‘sons of God.’ So is it possible when the NT is talking about faith making one a son or daughter of God is distinct from when one is a son or daughter of God by creation. To John’s point, if I had no part in making myself a son of God by means of creation (as one who bears his image, as a son of Adam who is son of God) then why would be so surprising if there is a way I am a son of God by means of the new creation inaugurated in Jesus rising. And what if there is a distinct way of being a child of God upon belief? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a new way of being God’s child in the resurrection. Relationships change and grow. The way my son and I relate changes over time, especially as he matures and grows to be more grown up like me.
I think Ben makes a good point–Fixating on the word “son” or “child” might not be the best way to talk about the theology behind the words. He is definitely right that being a “child of God” has some diversity behind it, and some of those diverse meaning have to do with something that happens as a result of faith. I would argue this has to do with *experiencing* the sonship we’ve been given by grace.
Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus and the crazy Canaanite woman. The apostles’ wanted Jesus to send her away. It’s a very beautiful and poignant Gospel that talks to this situation. Jesus praises her for her “faith” and persistence. Not even the apostles (the first leaders of the Church) had her faith…or yet understood who Jesus really was. But she did. An “outsider”…sometimes it takes the “outsider’ to show us who we really are. To many people looking through their own eyes here. God looks at the person…not what group they belong to….
The Canaanite woman is such a crazy story; you can wrestle with it for years and still come away with some new perplexity! I love the degree to which I can feel Jesus’ delight in her, how much he loved how much she GOT it.