James P. Needham
Winter Park, Florida
QUESTION: Are We Children Of Christ?
"In John 1:12, the word 'God' is found. Does 'God' have direct reference to Jesus Christ? Is it scriptural /or Christians to say that they are sons or children o/ Christ whom we find spoken of in the Bible as Mighty God, Everlasting Father?"--Ky.
1. Does 'God' refer to Christ in John 1:12?
John 1:12 reads, "But as many as received Him, to them gave he the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." The word 'God' here DOES NOT refer to Christ, but to God the Father. Christ gives those who believe on his name the right (power) to become sons of God the Father.
2. Are Christians sons or Children of Christ?
There is no passage in Holy Writ that establishes the idea that when one experiences the new birth (John 3:1-5), he becomes a child or son of Christ.
Two passages might lead some to think this, but not when they are properly understood. In Heb. 2:13, the prophecy of Isa. 8:18, is applied to Christ, and it reads, "Behold I and the children which God hath given me." In John 21:5, Jesus said to the disciples, "Children, have you any meat?" Heb. 2:13, does not necessarily mean that we are children of Christ. The meaning is that God gave Christ His children. We belong to Christ by right of purchase (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19), but we are not his children. In John 21:5 Christ called the disciples children, but this does not mean they were his children any more than one's calling his students children would mean they are his children.
Rom. 8:16, 17, says, "... we are children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." We are heirs OF GOD" but "joint-heirs WITH Christ." There is a vast difference between "of" and "with." We are not heirs "of" Christ, but heirs WITH him.
This is explained in Heb. 2:12, where we are called the brethren of Christ "in the midst of the church." We are heirs WITH him because we are brethren WITH him. It would be most difficult for us to be both his brethren and his children!
3. How is Christ "Everlasting Father"? With reference to Christ's being "Everlasting Father" (Isa. 9:7), Adam Clark says: "The Father of the everlasting age, or the Father of eternity. The Septuagint have 'the messenger of the Great Counsel' (Isa., p. 65) The idea seems to be that of Deity. Christ is God, he is Deity; He was the Father's creative agent (Jn. 1:1,2; Col. 1:16,17) That he is not and was not God the Father is very evident from the fact that he was WITH the father in the beginning (Jn. 1:1,2).
Hence, to say Christians are children of Christ is not speaking as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). It does not convey a scriptural idea.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 10, p. 7
January 15, 1970