For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
The first man, Adam, is called a “son of God” because he had no natural parents like we have. He came from God as a direct creation by God. God is Spirit, Jesus said in John 4:24, and because Adam was created in His image, he (and Eve) was a spirit-being too. After God had created everything, He formed Adam’s body from dust and breathed Adam into his earthly body. Adam came from God Himself!
…the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Luke 3:38
The Bible actually mentions of many sons of God, all of whom were direct creations of God. Satan is one of them; he was created by God in a very unique way to fulfill a specific purpose before Him. Job talks about a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. Job 1:6
Satan was created as a cherub, a special class of angel with exceptional beauty, adorned with musical instruments and precious stones. (See Ezekiel 28:11-19) He was such a magnificent creature that his beauty went to his head, pride filled his heart, and caused his fall.
There are also other sons of God, as Job discovered when he reasoned with God about his terrible ordeal.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7
We are allowed a glimpse of the dawn of creation in this passage; when God created everything, the sons of God were overjoyed by His handiwork and rejoiced together. These are angels that live in the presence of God – His mighty servants that do His bidding.
We see more about the angels in the passage where Isaiah was called to be a prophet. Even though they live in His presence night and day from eternity to eternity, they respond in awe of His glorious appearance without ever getting used to it, or becoming familiar with Him; they worship Him without end.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. Isaiah 6:1-4
Jesus also called the angels sons of God.
But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Luke 20:35-36
After Adam we never read of men as sons of God until after Jesus rose from the dead, although He said mention something that triggers our curiosity in the verse above, as well as in His conversation with Nicodemus in John chapter 3.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3-7
Nicodemus was a natural man, born from natural parents, and he had no clue what Jesus was talking about. He only knew that “what is born of the flesh is flesh,” but Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth. “What is born of the Spirit, is spirit.” Very little was said about this new birth after this because it only became possible once Jesus rose from the dead.
After Jesus rose from the dead He did something that reminds us of the day that God breathed life into the clay body of Adam:
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
This is where they were “born of the Spirit.” It was not their baptism in the Holy Spirit, because that happened afterward in Acts chapter 2. What Adam lost through his disobedience was now restored to man; they became sons of God again – direct creations of God. From thereon we begin to see the term sons of God used of man again:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14
The new birth changed everything! The apostle Paul wrote about this experience to the church at Corinth:
Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:16,17
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 1 John 5:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:1,2
The sons of God are not mere natural men any more; this is a totally different class of being! Unfortunately, this realization has not yet fully sunk in into the minds of God’s children. We still see ourselves as natural beings with spirituality added to us, but it is not how God sees us! Once again, the apostle Paul reminds us of this truth and encourages us to step into the fulness of our new identity:
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1,2
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 1 John 5:4
We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. 1 John 5:18
Becoming a son of God is a miracle that is hard for the carnal mind to grasp, and the enemy works hard to keep us in ignorance about this glorious truth. Jesus didn’t die to give us religion, but to remake hell-destined sinners into sons of God. We are His family, and it means much more than adding church attendance to our weekly schedules. God has much greater aspirations for His sons!
(In our world of today with its gender confusion, it needs to be said that the term sons of God includes daughters of God, just as men are included in the bride of Christ – see 2 Corinthians 6:18)
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2:10-12
Jesus received the death penalty on our behalf to bring many sons to glory, and now He calls us His brethren!
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… Ephesians 2:19
Jesus did what He had to do, now it is up to us to take possession of our new identity. We are sons of God because we were born of Him; our future is glorious – but so is our present – for He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We are in good company; we can overcome the world!