How Can We Be Children of God if Jesus is the Only Son of God?
Discover How God Can Have One Son and Have Many Sons (and Daughters) Too
The Bible calls Jesus the Son of God. We see this in forty New Testament verses from speakers ranging from his disciples to his detractors, including evil spirits and even Satan. Saying that Jesus is the Son of God suggests there’s only one Son. Indeed, other verses—such as John 3:16—call him God’s one and only Son.
This means that God is Jesus’s father, and Jesus is his only Son.
But if Jesus is the only Son of God, why does the Bible also call us sons and daughters (children) of God? If we receive him (John 1:12), are led by his Spirit (Romans 8:14), and have faith (Galatians 3:26), then we become children of God.
As his children, is that why we pray to him as “Our Father” (see Matthew 6:9) or should only Jesus get to do that?
The Bible is not contradicting itself. Jesus can be the one and only Son of God and at the same time, we can also be sons and daughters of God. Here are two ways to understand this.
The Bride of Christ
Jesus talks often about the groom (bridegroom) and his bride, implying that he is the groom and his followers are his bride. John the Baptist testified that he came to pave the way for the Messiah: Jesus, the bridegroom. The bride belongs to the groom (John 3:27-29).
The apostle John reinforces this in his epic vision that includes a future wedding of bridegroom and bride. Jesus is the Lamb, and we are his bride.
As the bride of Christ, we become God’s children through marriage. God has one Son, and through our marriage to his Son, we, too, become the children of God.
However, this idea of being spiritually married to Jesus is hard for many people to accept, especially men. Fortunately, there’s another analogy that’s easier to grasp.
Another illustration of our relationship with Father God is adoption.
Paul writes that by receiving God’s spirit we’re adopted into God’s family, becoming his sons and daughters. Through God’s spirit, we can then call him, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). Being adopted as his sons and daughters was God’s plan from the beginning (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Adoption is a beautiful image. As adopted children, God selects us; we’re chosen. The act is intentional. Through adoption we then become God’s heirs, co-heirs with Jesus (Romans 4:14). As heirs, we receive eternal life from him (Titus 3:7).As God’s children we are heirs of all he has. This includes the gift of spending eternity with him. Click To Tweet
We Are Children of God
Through our spiritual marriage to Jesus, we become children of God. Through our spiritual adoption into his family, we also become children of God. As God’s children we are heirs of all he has. This includes the gift of spending eternity with him.
Praise Father God.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.