Having been created in God’s image; the entire humanity represents God’s children. Sadly, through one man, the entire humanity, except Jesus, severed the relationship with God. The episode is vividly depicted in Genesis when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. The separation of humanity against God took place at that time, leading to the spiritual demise of humanity.
“The Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”(Genesis 1:15-17 KJV).
God was communicating with His Son, Adam. This was Spiritual communication, which should not be mistaken for physical communication. The life and death pronouncement was limited to Spiritual death, more than physical death. This was spiritual communication, rather than physical communication. Without God’s Spirit, humans cannot understand Spiritual communication.
Understanding God’s communication is impossible for those existing physically. The miscommunication between Jesus and the Jews was caused by His Spiritual language, which His physical audience could not understand. The special group that could understand comprised those appreciating Jesus’ spiritual identity.
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:23-26 NIV).
Jesus opened the floodgates for Humanity to reconnect with their Father, but on one condition: Believing and obeying the teachings of Jesus. Otherwise, the rest remain in death slumber, since the day that our ancestor, Adam, ate the wrong fruit. That death happened immediately, after eating the wrong fruit.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus never made Himself equal to God. He always insisted that His works were in accordance with His Father’s instruction. That does not imply being equal with God. Those currently doing likewise are also God’s children, but not, necessarily, making themselves equal with God.
The Jews sought to stone Jesus, for declaring being God’s Son. They were stuck in assuming that it was impossible for humans to become God’s children. That was true, as descriptive of humanity after the Garden of Eden incident.
Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”(John 10:31-36 NIV).
The Jewish misunderstanding was a result of mixing physical communication with Spiritual communication. To understand God’s communication required meekness, or humility, according to Jesus (Matthew 5:5).
It is impossible for one, stuck in a physical viewpoint, to understand the Spiritual viewpoint. As one physically communicating with humanity, Jesus clearly told His audience that it was impossible for ordinary humans to understand.
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father (John 6:44-46 NIV).
Failure to comprehend the differences between spirit and physical matter caused contradictions between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. Jesus represented what was created in God’s image. The Jews represented the physical aspect of being descendants of Abraham; Although Abraham obeyed God, in every detail. Hence, Jesus said they behaved as not being Abraham’s descendants.
Those who obey God are not of this world, even though living in this world. Jesus initiated the Heavenly standard. Those born anew are branches, whose stem is Jesus. They produce fruits, according to the true vine, who is Jesus.
His resurrection after death convinced believers of the insignificance of death. Those obeying His teachings cease to be of this world. They become God’s children, just as Jesus was God’s Son. Just as Jesus declared being not of this world, Christian believers also identify themselves as not of this world.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4:4-6 NIV).
Prior to the above assertion, the apostle John had advised them of the need to test the spirits. He had warned of the presence of the false prophets. It becomes easy to fall into the trap of false prophets, as long as one identifies with worldly practices. The false prophets insist that Jesus is different from humanity. They regard Him as a god, who is different from humanity.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3 NIV).
The Trinitarian doctrine qualifies as a typical example of what John says. The Trinitarian advocates assume Jesus as not our brother, but God. The Trinitarian advocates cannot be willing to examine such Scriptures. They generally do not possess the aspect of meekness, which identifies God’s children.
Only the meek, are willing to consider facts, without necessarily examining the communicator’s profile. The declaration that no one comes to Jesus, except drawn by God, was not figurative. This was as true as to be taken literally. This information cannot reach ordinary people, regardless of how educated.
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”(Matthew 16:17-19 NIV).
As far as Christian believers are concerned, the above Scripture crashes the idea of studying Theology to achieve becoming God’s child. Hence, Jesus said no person could come to Him, except drawn by God. The key lies in humility, as James also similarly attested (James 4:10).
Jesus assured His followers to remain attached to His teachings, applying what He taught, making them not different from Him. Among humans, Jesus could not be matched with anyone. But those applying His teachings would not be different from Him. Ordinary humans could not understand, but His followers would not have any problem with understanding.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”(John 15:12-15 NIV).
Profound as this may be to most people, Jesus’ followers are equal to Jesus. They are no longer regarded as servants. When Jesus comes, He would identify some people as His servants, while identifying others as His brothers. This is in the Bible, but not many people are aware of its existence (Matthew 25:31-40).
In verse 40, Jesus said the least of His brothers, would be fed and clothed by the righteous. Those brothers are the same as those described as Jesus’ friends, (John 15:12-15). The separation of the righteous and the unrighteous refers to ordinary humanity. Some of the righteous ones may not even identify themselves as Christians but would be rewarded at Christ’s second coming.
God’s servants include all the prophets, up to John the Baptist. Those were not the brothers of Jesus, but Servants, who Jesus used at various intervals. The secrets of God’s Kingdom were made to those described as His friends. Jesus also highlighted this when talking of John the Baptist.
“I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist, yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear”(Matthew 11:11-15 NIV).
The least in God’s kingdom would be greater than John the Baptist. None, among those born of women, was greater than John the Baptist, except the least in God’s kingdom. The secrets of God’s Kingdom were given to those equal to Jesus.
The work of redemption invites the entire humanity to God’s Kingdom. But, while the invitation is extended to everyone, not all are willing to accept its conditions. In His Sermon on the Mountainside, Jesus revealed that the key qualification to enter God’s Kingdom implies a willingness to learn.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Matthew 5:3 NIV).
God’s Children are not necessarily those calling themselves “Christians”. God’s Children are sealed by the Holy Spirit, according to Paul. They know God, just as God and Jesus know them. They are despised, in the same way, that Jesus was despised. But God knows them, as Jesus also knows them.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him, we cry “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory”(Romans 8:15-17 NIV).
The people referred to, cannot doubt being God’s children. They have assurance, as not to hesitate to identify themselves as co-heirs with Christ. They are different from those who consider Jesus as different from humanity. Jesus dwells in them. Therefore, they are not different from Jesus, even though those of this world cannot agree with that assertion.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV).
The difference between these and God’s children is that God’s children have no reason to declare having done good works. God would have been with them all along so that the works done would not be their works, but God’s work, done through them. The opposite is true of those attempting to remind Jesus that they would have done good works in Jesus’ name. See [The Prodigal Son parable and the mystery of Man]
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99