Q. Who are God’s children? Is it only believers? As always, thank you for your time and wisdom.
A. The claim some adults make that, “We’re all God’s children” isn’t necessarily true. In Romans 7:9 I believe Paul was saying that everyone is born a child of God and has eternal life. But as soon as we reach the age of accountability we lose that privilege because we become accountable for our sins. At that point we have to choose to be born again to regain our former status as one of God’s children. It’s the only way we can be divested of our burden of sin.
John 1:12-13 confirms this for us, saying, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” We become children of God again by believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, and by receiving the pardon His death purchased for us.
When that happens, God adopts us back into His family, recognizes us as His children again, and makes us His heirs (Galatians 4:4-7). Our inheritance is eternal life, and He puts His Spirit in our heart to guarantee that we’ll receive it (2 Cor. 1:21-22).
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Becoming like little children means no longer being accountable for our sins.