“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”1 John 3:1-3
There is a popular myth that says that we are “all God’s children.” This speaks of all of humanity. What this phrase fails to realize is that if we are all God’s children, then there is no significance to Christ’s work on the cross. Biblically to be a child of God begins at the acceptance of God’s free gift of salvation. It is not our ontological status, but one that is bestowed upon us by an adoptive God. As such, those who accept it, feel no sense of innate entitlement to being God’s child. We instead feel gratitude, and this leads us to a loving relationship with the one who saved us. This is why we take on his characteristics. It means something to be called a child of God. For those whom it is a catch-all for God’s creatures, the tendency is to act more like a spoiled brat than an obedient child. But if we really understand & value the nature of our adoption, then we will assume the nature of our new father by the example of our older brother. Too many only use God without loving him.