Response to Reader’s Comment – Are All People Children of God??? (Part 2 of 3)

Thank you very much KaraLee for the thought-provoking comment on the post Are All People Children of God???  (Part 2).  See post and comment at http://wp.me/p5nZpi-pI.

Before I respond to KaraLee’s comment, I like to offer a brief description qualifying my study and explanation of Scripture.

I understand all Scripture to be…

  • inspired by God, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. – 2 Timothy 3:16
  • written by human authors
  • written within a historical setting

Therefore, applying exegesis (critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of Scripture) in my opinion, requires understanding the usage of language in sentences and paragraphs,  examining verses/words/sentences within their context,  and seeking to understand the passages within their cultural setting.

KaraLee had so many great comments that I’d like to address them individually.  KaraLee’s comments will be highlighted in orange, my responses will be in black.

Thanks for the food for thought! I thought of a lot of stuff- hope it makes sense!          

I personally believe that our Heavenly Father literally created our spirits before we came to live on this earth and that our mortal parents are the facilities that house our eternal spirits (Hebrews 12:9).

Hebrews 12:9 – Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

  1. If we look at the context of Hebrews 12:9, see the passage, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+12:1-12, we’ll notice that this passage is not addressing pre-birth spiritual existence of people.

2.  The writer of Hebrews is addressing discipline in this passage.  He is referencing the similarity between a human father’s discipline and God’s discipline, as an expression of love.

3.  You’ll even notice that the word discipline is used 10 times within these 12 verses.

4.  God is described as the Father of our Spirits in v.12:9, but no where in this verse, other verses in the Bible, or within the context of this passage, was I able to find support that God created people’s spirits before they were born.

5. The only passage referring to pre-birth, and God, can be found in Psalm 139:13-16,

13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.

The entire passage can be found – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139

Which is why I think our Father in Heaven is so invested in our return to Him.

I wouldn’t want to lose any of my children.

Along with this statement is the assumption that you are your children’s mother.  Your children are children of KaraLee. But the Scriptures say that we are not automatically children of God. We are created by God. And it’s not until we, as individuals, believe Him and accept Him, that He gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12

I do think all are children of God.

Here’s how the Scriptures define a child of God –

To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  –  John 1:12

An opportunity, a right, not an automatic or a given that ALL people are children of God.

In this next passage, Jesus says that not all people’s father is God.

Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!  For you are the children of your father the devil… ” –  John 8:42-44

Whether people accept or recognize Him doesn’t mean He forgets them.

I agree with this statement, but it has nothing to do with a person’s status in “God’s family”.  Rather, it reminds us of the Biblical fact that God is love – 1 John 4:8, and that it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones (anyone – my add) should perish. – Matthew 18:14

Scripture confirms that…

  1. God gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. – Matt. 5:45
  2. God is being patient for our sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  – 2 Peter 3:9
  3. Jesus also is clear that ALL people will not recognize Him as Lord. In John 10, Jesus uses the parable of the sheep and the gate, saying… I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:9,14,26-28
  4. And in Matt 7:22-23 Jesus says, On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws. 

I wouldn’t disown my child if they decided to go against me. I do think that people can be called ” a child of God” in a deeper sense if they are His disciples or followers.

It’s not so much a matter of “in a deeper sense”, but it is the only way to be considered a “child of God”.  And that is, if you are His follower.  You are either a child of God, or you’re not.

But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12

And Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

As far as the scriptures referring to “adoption” I feel like it is a matter of semantics.

I disagree with this comment.  The word adoption holds much more weight than it is given credit for.  It has a specific meaning.  According to Webster Dictionary’s definition, semantics means that words have the same effect.  There’s no real difference.

However, the word adopt is defined in Dictionary.com  –  to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act.

The child of other parents, is a BIG distinction that makes God’s use of the word adoption in the Scriptures significant, and certainly not a matter of semantics.

I will be getting into adoption more in the next post.

We are already his literal creation, but we have to work at coming unto Him or being His “Chosen” people or ” people who choose God”.

This comment seems to me to be an oxymoron.

On the one hand, we’re God’s creation, which I agree with – For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. –  Colossians 1:16

Yet, on the other hand, we have to work at being His “Chosen” people.  So if ALL people are children of God, as your children are children of KaraLee, do we/them have to earn our parent’s love?  Earn our place as a son or daughter in the family?

I don’t believe we have to work at being “chosen” by God. God wants us all to be part of His family.  ALL people have been given a choice, freewill, to accept God’s provision to be reunited with Him. And, Because of His grace declared righteous, having confidence that we will inherit eternal life. – Titus 3:7

That provision was His Son, Jesus, who became an acceptable sacrifice, for ALL the sins of ALL people.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. – 1 Peter 1:19

For God loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

This is what differentiates Christ-followers from all other religions or spiritual groups. God came to us. God pursues US. We don’t have to “do” to get God to notice us, and choose us.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Because Adam and Eve’s left the Garden of Eden, they also left being so close to the presence of God.

Adam and Eve didn’t leave the Garden on their own accord. God banished them from the Garden, Genesis 3:24.

Their choice to disobey God, to sin, by eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, made it impossible for them to be in presence of a Holy God.

So in a sense we all have all been separated from our Father in heaven and need to gain knowledge of good and evil and follow or adopt Heavenly Father’s good ways.( Isaiah 56:3-8); (genesis 3:22-24)

Yes, ALL people have been separated from God.

For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:15

And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. – Romans 5:16

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.  God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.  So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:18-21

It’s not a matter of gaining knowledge.  It is a matter of repenting of our evil ways, turning to God, and following His ways vs. the world’s ways.  Only then can we come back into God’s Holy Presence.

 

Thank you again, KaraLee, for your comments 🙂

————————-

Are ALL People Children of God???  –  (Part 1)   http://wp.me/p5nZpi-pm

Are ALL People Children of God???  –  (Part 2)   http://wp.me/p5nZpi-pI

Are ALL People Children of God???  –  (Part 3 of 3)   http://wp.me/p5nZpi-rg

 

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Stress – Chance or Choices?? – PROVERBS 5 [5]

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16

 

9    If you do, you will lose your honor
      and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10  Strangers will consume your wealth,
       and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11  In the end you will groan in anguish
      when disease consumes your body.
12  You will say, “How I hated discipline!
       If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13  Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
       Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14  I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
     and now I must face public disgrace.

We left off in Proverbs 5:1-9 with:  –   (see previous post, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-dA)

7  Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!
    Don’t go near the door of her house!

Continuing to v.9 above, Solomon warns about losing your honor and what you’ve achieved.

I’ll use the example of engaging in sexual relations outside of marriage.  Purity is one gift that can never be re-gifted. If we choose to give our “gift” of purity, intended as a special ”gift” to our spouse on our wedding night, to someone who is likely a passing infatuation, we lose the opportunity to give that “gift” again.

                            true_love_waits    

Or, in the case of a marriage covenant that has been violated by an adulteress affair.  The trust, respect, and the relationship as a whole, has been forever changed.  And if a divorce is the result of the adulteress affair, this leads to distribution of wealth – child support, ex-spousal maintenance, and verse 10, someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.                                 Sadly, the fruits of your labor, are not solely enjoyed as one family, but rather must be divided up between your present “family” and your ex-family.

                                         gty_exchanging_money_ll_111104_wg

Verse 11 goes on to say that, disease consumes your body.
This could come in many forms, but the one that I think of immediately is stress.  Stress takes a devastating toll on a person physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Life, in general, can be stressful. But when WE MAKE choices contrary to God’s guidance, it only compounds our stress.

                                   497001603.jpeg

What got us into this mess?

  •  v. 12 – I hated discipline. I ignored all the warnings!
  • v. 13 – I didn’t listen to my teachers or instructors

The result?

  • v. 14 – now I must face public disgrace (face the consequences of my choices – my add)

We see in the verses 1-11, not to mention the 4 previous chapters in Proverbs, warning after warning. (See posts under Categories – Proverbs 1-4 – sidebar on computer view and bottom of page on mobile view). Each one given to us for our protection.

However, when our pride says, “____ can’t happen to me, it’s no big deal, everyone else is doing it, it’s all under control, I’m fine,…”  yet I find myself in a “BIG mess”, if I dare…  I can look back and see that with every step I took,  I HAD a choice, and I MADE a choice.  A choice to follow my way or God’s way.

Unfortunately, that same “I” who made those choices, trusting in myself vs my Creator, is now stuck with the consequences.

In the above verses, the consequences are negative.  But had “I” listened to, and accepted God’s loving discipline, the results would been positive and fulfilling.

                                               ityourchoice

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To Punish, or Not to Punish, That is the Question: – PROVERBS 3:11-12 [4]

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. – Psalm 28:7

 

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when He corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those He loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

Reading about discipline in verses 11 and 12 can make some of us cringe.  cringe That’s because discipline tends to emit a negative vibe, and is often used interchangeably with punishment.  Discipline, however, is quite different from punishment.

Punishment as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to impose a penalty on for a fault, offense, or violation. To make (someone) suffer for a crime or for bad behavior.

Discipline as defined by Dictionary.com, is training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. An activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.

Discipline’s purpose is to teach and train. And how it’s administered greatly affects the results.

We see in verse 12, the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.  These two words, in bold print, are much different from words like – who he wants to control, wants to show who’s boss, wants to express his anger towards

Discipline, is correction that comes from a position of love, with the purpose of instructing and training.  If, however, correction comes from a negative, angry, or vengeful position, it’s not discipline, it’s punishment.

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself, “isn’t there a place for punishment?”  Of course there is.  It’s necessary for the police to punish people for crimes they commit, and the military to punish people who threaten the safety of its country’s citizens.  But it also might surprise you to know that punishment can be used alongside discipline, and still come from a position of love.

I’ll use an example to illustrate:  A child is playing with his football in the house, and breaks mom’s vase.

Punishment =  Mom yells at the child, and sends her to her room without dinner (making child suffer for their disobedience behavior).  Observe the child’s posture in each of these pictures.                                                                                                                                                                                                             6-kid-in-trouble-not-listening            girl getting yelled at          arthur

Discipline =  Mom reiterates, to the child, the fact that playing in the house with a football can cause damage, and is evidenced by the broken vase (teaching).  Observe the child’s posture in this picture.                  kid vase mom

Discipline & Punishment =  Mom reiterates, to the child, the fact that playing in the house with a football can cause damage, and is evidenced by the broken vase (teaching), therefore, the child is responsible to replace the vase (imposed penalty).

                                  kid vase mom                 holding money

It is not unusual that we get upset when reprimanded. It’s a natural reaction. If it weren’t, Solomon would have had no need to mention it. Yet he said in verse 11, don’t be upset when correctedThe key to being open to correction is whether or not the one disciplining you is purposed to teach you, help and guide you, or is purposed to control, dominate, and “make you pay”. There is a big difference between these two approaches, and how the recipient will receive and respond.

No one likes being called on the carpet.  But when discipline comes from a position of love, even if it irks you initially, accept and appreciate that someone cares about you, wants to keep you safe, and “on track”.  So comply, humble yourself, and repentant (change direction) and recognize they have our best interest in mind.

I’ve mentioned in the above example, the response of the one being disciplined.  However, put yourself in the position of the one disciplining/punishing.  What is your goal?  To control by force and feel “big and strong”, or to have the recipient learn from the experience, and next time make the “wise choice” ?                                                                                                                                                                                     wisechoice                clipart-two-thumbs-up-happy-smiley-emoticon-256x256-eec6

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