There are only two spiritual families on this earth, the children of God and the children of the devil.
In Matthew 13:24-30 the Lord Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the tares. He then explains its meaning in Matthew 13:36-43.
"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this."
A little further in this chapter the Lord explains the meaning of the wheat and the tares. The disciples asked Him to explain the parable.
"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; THE GOOD SEED ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM; but THE TARES ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE WICKED ONE; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
The children of the devil do not become children of God; tares do not become wheat, and goats do not become sheep. The word of God refers to those who ARE the children of the devil, and it refers to those who ARE the children of God, even before they know they are His children.
In John 10:25-29 the Lord Jesus is speaking to the unbelieving Jews who were harassing Him and demanding that He tell them if He were the Christ. Here He plainly tells them:
"I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. BUT YE BELIEVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF MY SHEEP, as I said unto you. MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, and they follow me....My Father, WHICH GAVE THEM ME, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
Notice that the text does not say "you are not my sheep because you don't believe" but rather "Ye believe not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT MY SHEEP." The same truth is seen in John 8:43-45 where Jesus says to the Pharisees and other Jews - "Why do ye not understand my speech? even BECAUSE YE CANNOT HEAR MY WORD. YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, and the lusts of your father ye will do... And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not."
Then He explains further in John 8:47, saying, "He that IS of God heareth God's words; ye therefore hear them not, BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF GOD." They cannot hear and they cannot believe BECAUSE they are not His sheep and they are not of God but of their father the devil.
Scripture refers to those who have not yet heard, but will believe when they do, as "the sons of God". We see this in John 11:49-52 where an unbelieving high priest named Caiaphas unwittingly prophesies that Christ would die for the nation of Israel - "And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one THE CHILDREN OF GOD that were scattered abroad."
This last phrase refers to the children of God among the Gentile nations who had not yet heard the gospel of salvation. Yet God refers to them as His children, even before the hear of what Christ had done for them at the cross.
Notice the Lord Jesus' prayer for His own in John chapter 17 where He says: "As thou hast given him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM." Seven times in this prayer the Lord refers to "the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me" (v.6) "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." (v.9), "those whom thou hast given me" (v.11) and "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am" (v.24)
And in Hebrews 2:13 we read of one of the Lord's prayers where He says: "Behold I and the children God hath given me."
A legitimate question can arise about what does it mean then in John 1:12 where it refers to those who "BECOME the sons of God" when they receive Him and believe on His name. Is there a contradiction? Let's take a closer look at the passage and see if we can explain it without contradicting all the other clear verses that tell us that God chose us in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13:48) and that "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation" (2 Thes. 2:13)
John 1:12-13 tells us: "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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
First of all it should be noted that this spiritual birth was NOT of blood (we do not inherit it), nor of the will of the flesh (it is not a result of the natural will of our fallen, sinful nature) nor is it by the will or desire of another for us. But this new birth is totally of God.
So what does it mean when it says they "BECOME THE SONS OF GOD" if they already were God's children given to Christ from the foundation of the world? I believe the best answer to this question is to see it as referring to our earthly experience of when we realize who we are in Christ and we begin to see ourselves as God made us and we start to walk in that reality in our daily lives. The child now becomes the son. He begins to mature and grow.
We see a similar principle in 1 Corinthians 13:11 where the apostle Paul says: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I BECAME a man, I put away childish things."
And again in the book of Galatians chapter 4 we see that "when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world". But God sent forth His Son to redeem us "that we might receive the adoption of sons." The adoption of sons is literally the placing of the child into that of a mature son. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (See Galatians 4:1-6)
God's word cannot contradict itself. It is clear that the good seed are the children of the kingdom. We were given by the Father to the Son before the foundation of the world and ALL that the Father gives to the Son will come to Him. (John 6:37) And that those who received Him and believed on His name were born NOT of the will of the flesh, but of God. (John 1:12)
"In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Romans 9:7-8
"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." Galatians 4:28
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