EXCERPTS FROM THE MINISTRY
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN
THE OFFSPRING OF GOD AND THE SONS OF GOD
We need to consider in detail what it means to say that all of mankind are God’s offspring. Some theologians have taught that every human being is a son of God. They have taken as a basis for their teaching the word in Luke 3:38 concerning “Adam, the son of God.” Then they reasoned that since Adam, the first of mankind, was a son of God, then all his descendants must also be sons of God. This concept, they believe, is strengthened by Paul’s word in Acts 17 concerning all of mankind being God’s offspring. However, if we study the Bible carefully, we shall see that this concept is incorrect.
Mankind Created and Produced by God
According to the Bible, God created man. As the Creator, God is the source of man. Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” First God used the dust to form man’s physical body, and then He breathed into that body the breath of life, which caused the body to become alive. As a result, man became a living soul. Here in Genesis 2:7 there is the strong indication that human life came from God. In this sense man was not only created by God but also produced by God. We are not told in the Scriptures that God breathed the breath of life into animals. Only in creating man did He breathe into man the breath of life. Proverbs 20:27 uses for “spirit” the same Hebrew word rendered “breath” in Genesis 2:7. This reveals that the breath of life breathed into man by God is the element of man’s spirit. Actually, this breath of life became man’s spirit. The point we are emphasizing here is that the Bible indicates clearly that man was produced by God. We do not say that in creation man was born of God, but we do say confidently that man was produced by Him. God formed man’s body, breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul. In this way man was produced by God, and in this sense man is God’s offspring.
The Believers Born of God
The Bible also reveals that when we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, we are born of God. To be produced of God is one thing; to be born of God is another thing. All human beings are the offspring of God in the sense of having been produced of God. But the believers are the sons of God in the sense of having been born of Him. There is no indication in the Bible that the offspring of God, the human beings produced of God, have the divine life with the divine nature. But the New Testament says that the believers, who have been born of God, have the divine life and are partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). Therefore, we must differentiate between the offspring of God and the sons of God. All human beings are the offspring of God produced of Him, but the believers are the sons of God born of Him through regeneration. This is clearly emphasized in John 1:12 and 13: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave authority to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Two Ways of Living, Moving,
and Having Our Being in God
In Acts 17:28 and 29 Paul says that as the offspring of God we live, move, and exist in Him. In what sense do all humans live, move, and have their being in God? This is true in the sense that their human life was produced of God from the breath breathed into the first of mankind. Because we have such a human life, all humans live, move, and have their being in God. But the believers, who have been born of God, who have God’s life, and who have the divine nature, live, move, and have their being in God not only in the sense of having the breath breathed into man by God, but also in the sense of acting in the divine Person.
We need to be impressed with the fact that all humans are the offspring of God in the sense of having the breath of life from God. Therefore, they live, move, and have their being in God in this sense. But the believers have been born of God and have God Himself within as their life and nature. Thus, we live, move, and have our being in God not only in the sense of having the breath of life from God, but also in the sense of acting in God’s Person. All human beings are the offspring produced of God, but we who believe in Christ are the sons of God regenerated by Him. We all need to be very clear concerning this distinction between the offspring of God and the sons of God.
(Life-Study of Acts, Chapter 47, Section 3)
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