The notion that all of humanity are the "Children of God" is a popularly held belief. It is the "ecumenical" viewpoint wherein no religion or denomination is excluded from claiming that they are among "God's children." This agrees with a Universalist theology. It has also been declared by the now pope, Pope Francis 1.
I find this belief to be the current understanding of most mainline Christian churches. The universalists uphold the comforting belief that man is essentially good and that a wise, all-compassionate God will certainly acknowlege that one's best human efforts will grant them an eternal heavenly reward based on their motivation and actions. It is the belief that seems most fair and reasonable in most minds. The view that all are children of God is also allows a tenant of Buddhism where "all paths lead to God."
We must turn to Jesus' words to be reconciled to the reality, There is "a broad path that leads to destruction, by which many go.. " Jesus spoke of a narrow path. This narrow path was declared to be through Jesus of Nazareth himself. He is the one access point, the door. He said, "No one comes to the 'Father' but through me." This has always been the pathway that brings offense and causes many to stumble.
the path that leads to salvation such a limited one?
"Our Father Who Art in Heaven.. "
This familiar prayer memorized by most Christians begins with this declaration. Does this validate the universalist view point or does it suggest another reality? We give little thought to the first phrase of the "Lord's Prayer" because it has lost any kind of meaning since we have learned to pray it by wrote countless times.' We never contemplate the profound implications that it had with those who originally heard it declared by the Messiah himself. A change was to come in the status of humanity from "children of wrath" to children of G-d.
in the days that Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, ministered on earth. The
Jewish authorities held that G-d had no son. The same doctine is held
by Islam today. It is emblazoned upon their mosque, the dome of the Rock
Christians Before the Resurrection?
I have heard many Christian leaders actually go so far as to call Yeshua's disciples "Christians" during his earthly ministry. They were not Christians, they were disciples, followers of Yeshua of Nazareth. His disciples believed him to be the promised King of Israel and it was hoped that he would become the ruling Messiah. Even after Pentecost the disciples of Jesus identified themselves as being followers of "the way" of their Messiah. It was at the birth of the church age at Pentecost that the supernatural "Power of G-d" transformed the spiritual nature of the disciples into "sons and daughters of G-d. It was years later in Antioch Syria that followers of the way were called Christians. It is even foolishly taught by some Christian pastors that followers of Moses were Christians.
identity of Jesus as the "Son of the Living God" was first revealed
to Peter by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 16:16) Thereafter
the disciples believed that Jesus was truly the Messiah and the
Son of the Living God. They would have carried and affirmed this
belief for the duration of their days with him. Nevertheless they were
never quite sure of what it meant that he had a destiny to die in Jerusalem
to fulfill his Father's will.
30:4 An Old Testament Statement Testifying of G-d's Son
Jesus' Parable of the Wheat and the Tares; a Proof Text That We Are Not All God's Children.
13: 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and
his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the
tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth
the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed
are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children
of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil;
the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it
be in the end of this world.
The above passage indicates that those sitting next to us in a pew, who
we presume to be Christians, may be among the tares. Others from another
denomination or religion may likewise be among the tares, unregenerated
humanity. The appearance of goodness or moral standing is no guarantee
that they are among the called and redeemed.
Who is it that determines whether or not we qualify for the title of God's children? The Father knows those who are His own. This will become abundantly clear when the ingathering, final harvest occurs at the end of the age. We who have been "born from above" have this witness that we are the children of God. From the viewpoint of any casual observer, believers are not distinquishable from unbelievers. Churches and cults imagine themselves display confidence in their righteous standing; that they are the elect and beloved of God. But have they had their names written in the "Book of Life?" Have they been "born again?"
The Gospel of Grace declares that this status of adopted sons and daughters may be received as a free gift. It is not awarded because of religious works or righteous deeds. G-d only initiates this transaction supernaturally. He answers those who cry out with a sincere heart. Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! (Joel 2:32) 32 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: (saved) for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
Why Jesus Taught in Parables
Matthew 13: 10 "And the disciples came,
and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered
and said unto them, Because it is given unto
you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is
not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and
he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be
taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables:
because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they
Proof Texts from the Gospel of John
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (In this passage the "right" is Gk. exousia, which means permission or authority.)
In John, the first chapter,
we find that those who receive him (Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah) those who
will receive, he gives the Power
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
- - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,
and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. It is the Father
in heaven who makes the decision about those who will be drawn forth or
"chosen" for the title of Son of God.
John the apostle writes in his 1 John:3 Johns first Epistle:3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
continues to clarify the identifying traits of those who are God's children
and the children of the devil later in the same chapter:
Worldly Christians it seems, are far more engaged in pursuit of worldly rewards, name, fame, power, recognition, and acquisition of things. They have set their hearts (the seat of affections) upon things of this world that perish, and not things which are eternal / heavenly. John has exhorted against this pitfall, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)
Some have debated the
reality of Good vs. Evil. The Bible makes it clear; there are some
human beings who are Evil and some who are Good. The good news is that
we can change that status once we realize the truth about our fallen nature.
Ephesians 2:v3 explains:
Christ has redeemed us. We are redeemed from
the curse of the law, Christ having been made a curse on our behalf. (Galatians
The consequences of not receiving our Savior
Redeemer: John 3:16 to 3:18 The offer of redemption is made clear in these