The Pope, the Pharisees, and the Question: “Who Is a Child of God?”

Lubber OpinionLarry the Lubber

The opinions expressed by Larry the Lubber do not necessarily reflect the views of the crew — mostly because Larry is a pompous, sanctimonious authority on Scripture whose pontifications tend ter offend most everyone, even when he is right — which is ter often. – Staff

“VATICAN CITY (AP News) — In a recent interview, Pope Francis said,  “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are.”

But is everyone really a child of God? Does he love us as we are? Or do the words of Jesus, “Repent and believe the good news!” still hold today as they did two thousand years ago?

Based on the Pope’s comment, it appears his understand of mankind’s sin, and need for a savior, seems to be more aligned with that of the Pharisees than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“We are not illegitimate children,” the Pharisees protested to Jesus. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

This belief that we’re all God’s children can be found in many churches today.

We are all children of God.” – Darryl W. Stephens, director of United Methodist studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary.

“We believe that all people are children of God.” – Collister United Methodist Church.

“Everyone is a child of god,” Becky Hall, Executive Director of Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga and a delegate to the UMC Conference.

Seabold United Methodist Church believes that everyone is a child of God.”

But What Does Jesus Say to the Pharisees . . . And to Us?

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

“This is eternal life: that they may know the only true God. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They have obeyed your word. I am not praying for the world. Rather, I pray for those you have given me, for they are yours. They are not of this world even as I am not of the world. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” (John 8:40-44,17:3, 6, 9, 14, 16, 20)

These are not the words of a savior who believe everyone in the world is a child of God. So who are the children of God? Jesus says:

(Matthew 13:38-39) “The field is the world and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom. The darnel weeds are the children of the evil one. The enemy, the devil, sowed the bad seed. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.”

(Matthew 25:31-33) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

(Matthew 13:47-50) “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

If everyone were a child of God, then there would be no good or bad harvest, no good or bad fish, for God is holy and his children are righteous through life in Jesus.

What Do the Gospel Writers Say?

(John 1:12) To all who did receive Jesus, to those who believed in his name, Jesus gave the right to become children of God.

(Philippians 2:14-15) Be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Hold fast to the word of life.

(Ephesians 1:5) God predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 3:26) In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

(Romans 8:14-17) All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have received a spirit of adoption as sons. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.

While it might sound loving and inclusive to say that we are all children of God, if that were true, there would have been no need for Jesus to come and die for our sins. If we are all children of God, then his suffering and resurrection from the grave was in vain. Jesus and the word of God is clear: we are all born outside the kingdom of heaven. Only through Jesus can we be welcomed into the kingdom of God.

Confess your sins. Ask Christ to become your savior. Then believe he is. Become baptized with water as an outward sign that you are marked as a child of God. Finally, be baptized with the Spirit of Christ so you can be transformed into his image. This is the fulfillment of Jesus’ commission to his followers to: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. — even the leaders of churches and denominations, if necessary.