by Pastor Anthony Pranno
The phrase “children of God” has really lost its punch in recent days. While many prefer to view all human beings as children of God, the Bible points to only certain people who can correctly bear this title.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, he was addressing the church, not the city as a whole. Therefore, in Galatians 3 when he refers to the church as “sons and daughters of God,” we don’t expect to see a specific description of what that means… but we get it anyway. Are you a child of God? Check it out.
You are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
Yes, there is one foundational prerequisite to bearing the name “child of God” … that you have faith in Christ. Faith is trust and surrender. It is also the action that follows trust and surrender. If we say we believe something exists, we’re halfway there, but faith is more than simple belief. Believing that there is a God is a good start, but until we believe in God, surrendering our life and will to him in humility, we aren’t his children.
Baptized into Christ Galatians 3:27
Paul’s next prerequisite to being counted among the offspring of God is being baptized into Christ. Without taking the time to describe some modern (and conflicting) views on the modes and meanings of baptism, most agree that baptism is when a person publicly identifies with Christ. When we are baptized into Christ, we are effectually saying that we have been born anew spiritually and have yielded to his Lordship and saving grace. Paul implies that believing in and baptizing into Christ go hand-in-hand.
You have clothed yourself with Christ. Galatians 3:27-28
When you read and study the letters of Paul, you begin to recognize his repeated figures of speech. “Clothing ourselves with Christ” means that we have disrobed and discarded the old nature, the flesh, and the things contrary to God – then we gave gotten dressed with the character and obedience we see in Christ. In short: our belief-in and baptism-into Christ should result in Christ-like behavior. Even more, when we who believe-in and are baptized-into Christ clothe ourselves with Christ-like character, we become one in him… there is unity within the church! There is no Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave or free. Even our denominational differences begin to dissipate. As believers, as Christians, as followers of Jesus, we are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in the family of God.