by C.J. Koster
We firmly believe in the born again experience. But instead of being a means to an end, it is just the other way round for many, if not for most. A well-known American evangelist - using Acts 19:27-28 as a simile, where the Greeks were extolling their "great" female deity - once lamented and said, "Great is the American religion that begins, and ends, with a born again experience." Others call it, "Saved and stuck." Sadly, some denominations even boast about their teaching of "Once saved always saved."Let me quickly add: This lack of Scriptural growth, this complacency, this inertia, is not confined to the born again groups. No, this easy-going Spiritual "life", or rather Spiritual "death," is prevalent amongst all denominations and groups, without exception.
Those who say they are now born again (as well as the staunch church members of the non-evangelical churches) then call themselves "children of Elohim," and speak of so-and-so and say. "He, too, is a child of Elohim."
Before we continue this study I wish to point out that those who only know the Old King James Version might be a little confused, at first. The reason I am saying this is because in the Messianic Scriptures of the KJV the words "children" and "sons" are very often the wrong way round. Readers of modern translations won’t have this problem. An example of this is Yoch. 1:12 which reads, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of Elohim ..." Note well: it is "children," and not "sons" like the KJV renders it.
In this same Yoch. 1:12 we should also notice the words "to become." Most believers mistakenly interpret this as if it reads "to be." No, it is "to become," so whatever you have been taught, or else would like to believe, it is "to become." If one has come to belief you haven’t "arrived" yet, no, this is only the beginning of what ought to be a life of being "a taught one," being taught by the Only Teacher, Yahushua (Yehoshua), as He teaches us His Father’s Words, Teachings, Commandments.
Once you are born again, you are instructed by Kepha to do the following, "as new-born babes, desire the unadulterated milk of the Word, in order that you grow by it ... drawing near to Him ... being built up, a spiritual offering acceptable to Elohim, through Yahushua (Yehoshua) Messiah" (1 Kepha 2:2-5).
As you grow spiritually, you progress from milk to "solid food for the mature," going "on to perfection." Read this from Hebr. 5:12 up to Hebr. 6:6. This is the same message contained in the Parable of the Sower - to grow and bring "fruit to perfection," to "bear fruit with endurance." (lUK. 8:11-15).
Who then, are the Children of Elohim? If my father was a child of Elohim, am I then one too because of that? Definitely not, for Elohim has no grandchildren! Search the Scriptures and see it for yourself. In Rom. 9:8 we read, "those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim..."
In Yoch. 8:41-47 our Messiah had a discussion with some Yehudim, unbelieving Yehudim. Previously, in vv. 33-39, they were trying to rely on having Abraham as their father. Now, in vv. 41-47 they were attempting to rely on having Elohim as their Father. Yahushua (Yehoshua), however, was confuting them, was proving them wrong, and said, "You are of your father the devil." (verse 44). Then He says in verse 47, "He who is of Elohim hears the Words of Elohim, therefore you do not hear because you are not of Elohim." So here we find the first fact pertaining to our question, "Who are the children of Elohim?" Here we find that they are those who at least "hear the Words of Elohim."
In Luke 8:21 Messiah says that His brothers are those who hear the Words of Elohim and do it. He is our elder Brother, so if we are His brothers, then we too are children of Elohim, provided we hear the Word of Elohim and do it. He is our elder Brother, so if we are His brothers, then we too are children of Elohim, provided we hear the Word of Elohim and do it.
In Rom. 8:14 we read that the sons of Elohim are those who "are led by the Spirit of Elohim." Remember that Sha’ul said in Rom. 8:1 "that the law is Spiritual." He further elaborated on this and said in Rom. 8:1 that those who are IN Messiah are those "who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit," and in verse 7 he says that "the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim, for it does not subject itself to the Law of Elohim," or "does not obey the Law of [Elohim]" as the NIV renders it. In this passage "flesh" is used as a synonym for "sin" or "carnality."
What Sha’ul was saying here in Rom. 6, 7 and 8 is that you are either Spiritual, or else you are carnal (fleshly). Those who are Spiritual are no longer servants of sin and have become servants of righteousness resulting in apartness (Rom. 6:16-22), while those who are carnal are servants of lawlessness (Rom. 6:17 & 19-20). The Spiritual-minded believer subject himself to the Law of Elohim, while the carnal-minded person does not subject himself to the Law of Elohim. It is as simple as that!
To confirm what he said in Rom. 8:1 about being "IN Messiah Yahushua (Yehoshua)," as well as describing in Rom. 6:1-23 the difference between the unregenerate sinner and the born again believer after Immersion, Sha’ul continues in the same vein in Galatians 3:26-27, For you are all sons of Elohim through belief in Messiah Yahushua (Yehoshua). For as many of you as were immersed into Messiah, have put on Messiah." Whether we are IN Messiah or whether we have put on Messiah, are just two different aspects of the same fact, of the same Spiritual condition.
As we study all Scripture, we clearly see what the attributes are of the children (or sons) of Elohim. We see who they are, and also what is expected of them. Another characteristic of them is the following, as we read Matt. 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers because they shall be called sons of Elohim." Living in a world filled with violence, fighting and hatred, it is most difficult to make peace between nations and groups, but we simply have to do whatever we can - even if only to make peace between individuals and between brothers. Above all, make peace with Elohim: See to it that you are truly reconciled with Elohim. We read in Philip. 2:12-15, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is Elohim working in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure. Do all matters without grumblings and disputings, in order that you be blameless and faultless, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding on to the Word of life ..."
To "be a child of Elohim" is the same as to "be of Elohim" or to "belong to Elohim." In the same way the children of the devil is also described as being "of the devil." With this in mind let us study the epistles of Yochanan, and see if our lives conform to the Word of life. Let the Word speak to those who profess to be "the children of Elohim," and to those who wish to become "the children of Elohim." If the Word reproves us, let us repent of our sins or shortcomings or faults, and ask Yahushua (Yehoshua) forgiveness.
We read in 1 Yoch. 3:6-10, Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one lead you astray. The one doing righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. The one doing sin is of the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested: to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin, because His seed stays in him, and he is powerless to sin, because he has been born of Elohim. In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest: Everyone not doing righteousness is not of Elohim, neither the one not loving his brother." To summarise what Yochanan was saying this: The children of Elohim are those who do not sin, those who do righteousness; while the children of the devil are those who are sinning, those who do not do righteousness.
What is righteousness? It is the opposite of sin. It is to do what is right in the eyes of Elohim - to keep His Commandments, to keep His Teaching. This is how we find it clearly defined in 5 Mosh. 6:25, Ps. 119:172 and Yesh. 51:7. Of course, Yahushua, (Yehoshua) is the embodiment of righteousness. (Yirm. 23:6).
Let us heed the warning Yochanan gave us, "let no one lead you astray." Let no minister or pastor lower the standards, and compromise, just for the sake of getting more members. The Almighty will not compromise with sin, with the devil!
To become a child of Elohim, or to be a child of Elohim, everyone of us has to overcome the deep-rooted problem of sin, the Adamic nature all of us have inherited. We also have to overcome the deception which the Great Mother Harlot and her Daughters wrought by making the inhabitants of the earth drunk with the wine of Her fornications, getting them to drink from her cup filled with abominations and filthiness. (Rev. chs. 17-19).
Let all those who earnestly seek, let all those who truly strive to be one of the children of Elohim, let all those who "have overcome with El" (=Yisrael), be encouraged by what we read in Rev. 21:7, "The one who overcomes shall inherit all this, and I shall be his Elohim and he shall be My son."
In part 2 of this article we are going even deeper into this question, Who are the children of Elohim?"