“We will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Many Americans would recognize these inspiring words that were used to change the history of our country, but was MLK Jr. referring to the Biblical definition of “God’s children”?

Those who believe that the Bible teaches that all human beings are God’s children may say that God makes no distinction between people.  They may point to Malachi 2:10 as their proof text.  It states, “Don’t all of us have one Father?  Didn’t one God create us?”  To conclude that the Bible teaches all human beings are in God’s family from this verse would be to ignore other clear teachings on this subject, and to read our contemporary understanding into this verse.  In Malachi, God is clearly addressing the nation of Judah.  If they all have one Father, then why are they breaking the covenant of that One Father?  This is the intended meaning.

To take this position is also to ignore the apostle John’s teaching that the one who does what is right (righteous in God’s sight) is a child of God and the one who does evil is a child of the Devil.  Actually, this is how we can judge between the two (1 John 3:7-10).

Embracing this position would also ignore the apostle Paul’s clear teaching in Romans 8 – those who are led by the Spirit of God are God’s sons.  The people who Paul makes reference to are those who have an inner witness by the Holy Spirit that we belong to God’s family.  So we understand through the Scriptures that children of God are those who practice righteousness and are led by the Holy Spirit; but that is not all.  Paul goes on to teach that those who are heirs with Christ also suffer with him.  This suffering is not that which comes from waiting at a lunch counter, but suffering that comes from being identified with Jesus Christ.  So are you a child of God?  Have you been born of the Holy Spirit?

Repent of your sin today and receive the forgiveness of sins so that you can declare without a shadow of a doubt that you are a child of God according to the Scriptures.

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

Brian L. Spivey