But as many as received Him[Jesus], to them He gave the right 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” (Gospel of John 1:12-13)
It is sometimes said that “all men are children of God.” The Bible teaches that man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26) so there’s a certain element of truth to this saying. All have the capacity to think, to communicate, to plan or even dream. We have emotions, memories, convictions and a conscience that judges us! There can be no arguing that man is certainly special but, not all are “children of God.” We cannot BE children of God and then “BECOME children of God.” Both cannot be true. Only those who “receive” Jesus have the “right to become children of God.”
Becoming “a child of God” is not something man has the power to bring about. Yes, we have put a man on the moon but we have our limits. This new birth does not come about naturally (“of blood”) nor from human effort, power or ingenuity (”will of the flesh/man”). It is “of God.” God gives a new life and this life is not of this world. It’s the life of Christ. A life that desires to please God. A life that delights in truth and hates evil. A true child of God is different and noticeably so! There is a deep and abiding desire to be led by God through the Word of God (John 17:17). There is a new discernment concerning that which is false or perverse (John 10:3-5). His life is not characterized by indulgence (Eph 2:3) and disobedience (1 John 1:6). This life hungers to be close to God and is devastated by sin (Psalm 32:5; yes, true Christians can and do sin!). Though he may fall, he doesn’t stay in the “pig pen” (Luke 15:17-18). When God gives life there is a visible and abiding change.