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POWER TO BECOME A SON OF GOD
February 16, 2014
Last week: "He That Hath Seen Me Hath Seen The Father"
John writes, in John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Jesus was the "only begotten of the Father" (John 1:14, 18; 3:16), but those who believe on Him have the power to become sons of God. What a privilege - to be a son of God! As John writes, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1 a).
But, does John affirm that one becomes a son of God simply by believing? Notice what he says. He says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." The word translated, power, is from the Greek word, exousia, which, according to Vine, "denotes 'freedom of action, right to act.'" The word is translated, "right," in most translations. So, John says those who receive the Son, have the right to become His sons. He does not say that those who believe on the Son become the son of God. However, He does not go into what one must do to become His sons, in addition to belief.
Paul writes, in Romans 16:26, "But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith." So there is an obedience associated with faith - more to do than just believe.
John writes, in 1 John 2:3-4, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." So, to know the Son is to obey his commandments. It is not enough to just believe. Paul points out, in Hebrews 5:8-9, that the Son learned obedience by the things which He suffered, "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
Jesus says, in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." So, what must one do to become a son of God? First, a believer must repent of his sins. Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached repentance (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Please read Luke 13:1-5. Here Jesus refers to some who had been killed. He tells his hearers in Luke 13:3, 5, "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Jesus says in Luke Luke 24:46-47:
Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Second, a penitent believer must confess his faith in Jesus Christ. Two passages, John 9:22 and John 12:42, imply the necessity of confession. Jesus says in Matt 10:32-33:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
John writes, in 1 John 4:15, "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." He writes in 1 John 2:23, "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." So, the penitent believer must also confess his faith in Jesus.
Finally, upon his confession of his faith in Christ, the penitent believer must be baptized. Jesus hinted at this when He told Nicodemus, in John 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." Water, here, refers to baptism, as most candid authorities agree (See Johnson). Jesus, in the Great Commission, commands, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16. See also Matthew 28:18-20). In fulfillment of the Great Commission, Peter commanded the penitent Jewish believers present on Pentecost, AD 33, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38. See also 1 Peter 3:21).
John says that, as many as received Jesus, "...to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). But, to exercise that power to become a son of God, a believer must repent of his sins, confess his faith in Jesus, and be baptized in water for the remission of his sins. Have you exercised your power to become a son of God?
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