by Shawn Brasseaux
Is everyone “God’s child,” as often claimed? Who are “the children of God?” How does the Bible describe “the children of God” in this the Dispensation of Grace? In this Bible study, we want to search the Scriptures to learn more about our identity in Christ so we can further appreciate our identity in Christ.
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WE HAVE TRUSTED CHRIST
The Bible says in Galatians 3:26-28 KJV:
“26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
While it is often claimed that everyone is “God’s child,” this is not true. Verse 26 explains, “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” There are people who want nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Are they the “the children of God.” This verse unequivocally says, “NO!”
So, who then are “the children of God?” “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The only “children of God” are those who have trusted Christ Jesus alone as their personal Saviour. If you are not relying on the Lord Jesus Christ alone as your mediator to God, then you are not God’s child. It is that plain and simple. If you are working for your salvation, relying on your own “goodness” to please God so He will accept you into heaven, then you are not God’s child. This is what God’s Word says.
Friend, if you are attempting to approach God through some religious figure (pope, pastor, guru, imam, archbishop, cardinal, et cetera), the Bible says that you will never reach God. Jesus Christ clearly declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). If you want to be a child of God, you must come by Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, everyone is not God’s child. Only those who have “faith in Christ Jesus” are God’s children. Unless a person has “believed on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31)—relying on His sacrifice at Calvary’s cross as the fully satisfying payment for his or her sins—he or she is not a child of God.
Once, we Christians were lost hell-bound sinners, children of the devil (John 8:44). We “were dead in our trespasses and sins,” following the evil world system (under Satan’s influence), doing our own thing and offending God’s righteousness (Ephesians 2:1-3).
There came a point in our lives when we (finally) threw up our hands in exhaustion. We (finally) realized that we were no-good wretches: all our “good” works displeased God. There, we (finally) acknowledged that we could never “measure up” to His righteous standards. There, we (finally) quit working for salvation, and trusted in the bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We received God’s salvation as a free gift, something we did not deserve (Ephesians 2:4-9)!
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). If you have trusted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary, you have total access to and peace with God through Christ Jesus our Lord. You are no longer separated from God because of sin. God’s righteous wrath against your sin and sins was poured out on His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, at Calvary’s cross. “In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of [God’s] grace” (Ephesians 1:7; cf. Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13).
Now, God, not Satan, is our Father (Romans 1:7 et al.). Now and forever, we are “the children of God!”
WE HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST
Going back to our main text of Galatians 3:26-28, let us focus now on verse 27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we “have been baptized into Christ.” This is not water baptism, for the Bible reads that we “have been baptized into Christ,” not “baptized into water.” When we trusted Christ alone as Saviour, the Holy Spirit baptized us into the Church the Body of Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Ghost, not a preacher or priest, administers the only valid baptism for this Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5).
When the Holy Spirit baptized us into the Body of Christ, He identified us with Christ’s death: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ [not water!] were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…” (Romans 6:3,4a). Just as Christ died, we died to sin. Now, sin does not have dominion over us.
When Christ was raised, we were raised to “walk in newness of life” (verse 4b). Consider Romans 6:10,11 KJV: “For in that he [Christ] died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We have victory over sin in our lives when we simply walk (by faith) in this, our identity in Christ.
Literally, we have “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:28). We have been made “the righteousness of God in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father sees us in Christ: He sees Christ’s righteousness, not our unrighteousness. Saints, God will always accept us in Christ (Ephesians 1:6). We will always be “the Body of Christ,” “the children of God.”
WE ARE EQUAL IN CHRIST
Now, we will return to our main text of Galatians 3:26-28 to consider verse 28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female:….”
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek” — Prior to our dispensation, God distinguished between Jew (“Circumcision”) and Gentile (“Uncircumcision”) (Ephesians 2:11,12): this distinction has been temporarily suspended (verses 13-18). In our dispensation, God looks beyond nationality; He only sees Christians (members of the Body of Christ) and lost people. “…For we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;… Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them [Jew and Gentile] that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:9,22,23).
- “There is neither bond nor free” — This refers to social-economic statuses: today’s employer-employee relationship. In Bible times, masters (“free”) employed slaves (“bond”). God gives no special status to Christian masters (employers), nor does He grant Christian slaves (employees) any special standing (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24). Again, when God looks at mankind, He only sees those that are “in Christ” and those that are not. “Neither is there respect of persons with [God]” (Ephesians 6:9c; Colossians 3:25b).
- “There is neither male nor female” — All members of the Body of Christ are equally “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). In God’s eyes, Christian women are of no lesser value than Christian men, and vice versa.
Galatians 3:28 can best be summarized by comparing it to 1 Corinthians 12:13, a verse we briefly considered earlier: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
While the Body of Christ consists of men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, all Christians are equally saved in God’s sight (just as all lost people are equally dead in their trespasses and sins). All Christians “are complete in [Christ]” (Colossians 2:10), but few ever study the Bible dispensationally (as we do here) to discover their identity in Christ.
WE ARE UNITED IN CHRIST
One last time, we will return to our main text of Galatians 3:26-28, reading the remainder of verse 28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
After briefly summarizing the identity of the members of the Body of Christ, Paul concludes with our unity, “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Just as Jesus Christ desired unity amongst His Jewish kingdom believers—“That they all may be one” (John 17:16)—God wants unity in the Church the Body of Christ. (Understand, we should not and do not sacrifice doctrine for the sake of unity! We only fellowship with likeminded [Pauline dispensational] Christians; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; cf. Romans 16:17,18; 1 Timothy 6:3-6).
If you have trusted in Christ Jesus alone as your personal Saviour, then these seven doctrines/issues unite you with every other member of the Body of Christ. The “[seven-fold] unity of the Spirit” is “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
How can all Christians be equal in God’s eyes, despite differences in nationalities, gender, and economic-social statuses? All members of the Body of Christ are positioned in the one body (of Christ) forever, they are all indwelt by the same Holy Spirit of God, they are all destined to reign in heaven with Christ forever, they have all trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, they all rely on Christ’s faith (Calvary’s finished crosswork), they have all been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and they all have God as their heavenly Father. This is our God-given position in Christ! Indeed, saints, “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
We members of the Church the Body of Christ have the same relationship with God that His Son Jesus Christ has! As members of the Church the Body of Christ, we can call God what Jesus Christ called God, “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36). “And because ye are his [God’s] sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:6,7 KJV).
Romans 8:14-17 KJV says:
“14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;
17 And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
The doctrines we have discussed here, which are only found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, not only separate us from other believers in the Bible (such as the nation Israel), but they also give us a unique standing amongst the religious people of the world. It is these doctrines that make us Christians, Christians.
All Christians are equal in Christ. They all have the same justification (all declared before God to be as righteous as Christ Jesus), the same baptism (all members of the Body of Christ), the same righteousness (Christ’s righteousness), the same commission to preach the same Gospel of the Grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21), and the same hope (heaven).
Our Lord looks beyond denominations, ethnicities, social-economic statuses, education, gender, weaknesses, and strengths. He looks at the hearts of all people, to only see two groups: those who are the children of the devil (John 8:44), and those who are “the children of God….”