THERE IS A VAST DIFFERENCE between  believers in the Old Testament and  believers in the New Testament. Both  are called “saints” but Old Testament  saints were saved under the Old  Covenant that God made with Israel  on Mount Sinai. New Testament saints  are saved under the New Covenant  made by Christ when He shed His  blood on the cross. When we take the  communion cup we remember that  it symbolizes the “blood of the new  covenant” shed for us. 

When Old Testament saints died their  souls went to Paradise (Heb. sheol)  where Jesus went when He died. When  Jesus rose from the dead He raised  from the dead all the Old Testament  saints and led them to heaven. 

When New Testament saints die their  soul goes straight to heaven to be with  Christ to await the Rapture when the  “dead in Christ shall rise first” and the  living saints will be changed; caught up  to meet Christ in the air. 

Old Testament saints were the servants  of God but New Testament saints  are the children of God. In the Old  Testament the only ones who are call  the “sons of God” are angels because  they are created by God but in the New  Testament we become the children of  God by a spiritual rebirth.  

Jesus told Nicodemus that “except a  man be born again he cannot see the  kingdom of God” (John 3:3). To enter  

the family of God one must be born  again of the Spirit of God and become  a child of God. God becomes our  Heavenly Father and all other believers  in Christ are my brothers and sisters  in Christ. There is no other way to  become a child of God other than the  new Birth and we are born again by  simple faith in Christ.. 

There is a mistaken view in Christendom  that all men and women are the children  of God because we are created by  God. But this view fails to recognize  the fact that after God created Adam  sin entered and separated the human  race from God. The only way back is  via the new birth. We must be born  again of the Spirit of God. 

How Can I be Born Again? 

The New Birth is a work that God does  in the heart when we believe on Jesus  Christ. John 1:12-13 states: 

“As many as received him, to them  gave he power to become the sons  of God, even to them that believe on  his name: Which were born, not of  blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor  of the will of man, but of God.” 

We receive Christ by faith and we  believe the promise of God’s Word. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing  the Word of God” (Rom.10:17). 

“For by grace are ye saved through  faith; and that not of yourselves: it  is the gift of God: Not of works, lest  any man should boast. For we are  

his workmanship, created in Christ  Jesus unto good works” (Eph.2:8-10). “Being born again, not of corruptible  seed, but of incorruptible, by the  word of God, which liveth and  abideth for ever” (1Pet. 1:23). 

Faith takes hold of the promises of  God and the Holy Spirit does the work  to make me a “new creature in Christ”  (2Cor.5:17). 

Children and Sons 

In the original Greek there is a  distinction between the Children of  God and the Sons of God. In fact there  are four main words used to distinguish  the stages of development in the Family  of God. The four stages are as follows: 

1) The unborn child in the womb of its  mother is en gaster scheo literally, “in  the stomach held”. During pregnancy  the unborn is a real person and  innocent. Should it die or be aborted  it is eternally safe and for this reason  heaven will have millions of souls of  the unborn who have perished. 

We know that the baby in the mother’s  womb is a real person because John  the Baptist could be filled with the  Holy Spirit while still in the womb of  Elizabeth (Luke 1:41). 

2) Little Children who have not come to  the age of understanding are described  by the Greek word paidon. Jesus took  these in His arms and blessed them  and said, 

“Even so it is not the will of your  Father which is in heaven, that one  of these little ones should perish”  (Matt.18:14). 

Until a child reaches the age of  understanding they are safe in the  

arms of Jesus. 

3) Children who are old enough to  make a responsible decision are  described in the greek as teknon and  that is the term used of all those who  are born again of the Holy Spirit. We  enter the family of God as His children  and the Bible says of us 

“As newborn babes, desire the  sincere milk of the word, that ye may  grow thereby” (1Pet.2:2). 

In this life Christians are teknon,  immature children of God. We are all  learning from our Heavenly Father.  We grow spiritually as we feed upon  the Word of God and it is God’s desire  that in this life we become mature  Christians. God has placed pastor/ teachers in the Church to help us to  grow spiritually  

“For the perfecting of the saints,  for the work of the ministry, for the  edifying of the body of Christ: Till  we all come in the unity of the faith,  and of the knowledge of the Son of  God, unto a perfect man, unto the  measure of the stature of the fulness  of Christ” (Eph.4:12-13). 

This side of heaven we will never reach  the standard of perfection but Paul  says that we “press toward the mark  for the high calling of God in Christ  Jesus” or to the “upward call” which is  the Rapture when we will be perfected  in our resurrection body. That is our  goal. 

In the Epistle to the Galations Paul  states that a child, though an heir “differeth nothing from a servant,  though he be Lord of all; But is under  tutors and governors until the time  appointed of the father” (Gal.4:1-2).

In this life God chastens us when we  are disobedient children in order that  “we might be made partakers of His  holiness” (Heb.12:10). 

4) The fourth Greek word used  to describe the children of God is  huios which is a term for adult, fully  mature sons. In our society it would  approximate to turning 21 years of age  and no longer considered a child but a  son. The Bible describes this as “the  adoption” when we finish our earthly  journey and are raptured into the  presence of Christ and God will  

“change our vile body, that it may be  fashioned like unto his glorious body,  according to the working whereby  he is able even to subdue all things  unto himself” (Phil.3:21). 

“Ourselves also, which have the  firstfruits of the Spirit, even we  ourselves groan within ourselves,  waiting for the adoption, to wit, the  redemption of our body” (Rom.8:23). 

The “adoption” has nothing to do  with becoming a child of God but is  all about our glorification at the first  resurrection of the Church-age saints.  The children (teknon) of God are  waiting the adoption; for the day when  we see Christ and  

“when he shall appear, we shall be  like him; for we shall see him as he  is” (1John 3:2). 

At conversion we receive “the Spirit of  adoption” and then we wait until the  Rapture for the day when we will be  glorified and given a resurrection body  like unto Christ. 

In Romans ch.8 we are reminded that  we groan in this body “waiting for the  adoption, the redemption of our body” 


In the epistle to the Galations Paul  states that we are redeemed so that  we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal.4:5). 

In his epistle to the Ephesians  Paul indicates that Christians are  predestinated unto the “adoption of  children” but the words of children  are added by the translators. The  Greek word translated “adoption” is a  compound of two words huiothesian,  “a son” and “to place”. The meaning  is “to place as an adult son”. God  has predestinated all who believe in  Christ and have thereby become the  (teknon) children of God, that we will  be placed as sons, fully perfected into  the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

But notice the words, “to Himself” that  follows the statement that “we might  receive the adoption”. The adoption  is obviously something future for the  believer because it is somethng we  have yet to receive. And the adoption  is “to himself” i.e. to Christ. 

So when will we receive the adoption;  the redemption of our body? Paul says  that at the Rapture, “this corruptable  must put on incorruption and this mortal  must put on immortality” (1Cor.15:53). 

It is at the Rapture that we are received to the immediate presence of Christ  and only then will the adoption, or full  sonship take place. Our bodies will be  redeemed.  

In these bodies we sin and fail to come  up to the perfect standard of Christ but  our salvation will be complete when  this corruption will put on incorruption  and this mortal shall put on immortality.

Nowhere in Scripture are we told that  we are predestinated to believe or  to be born again as a child of God.  Predestination is the guarentee we  receive at conversion of an  

“inheritance incorruptible, and  undefiled, and that fadeth not away,  reserved in heaven for you” (1Pet.1:4). 

Adoption is not the way that God  places us in His family. God never  adopts anybody elses children. All of  God’s children are born into the family  of God by the New Birth as Jesus told  Nicodemus, 

“Ye must be born again!” There is no  other way to become a child of God. 

The truth that all who believe are  predestinated to be glorified as the  “sons of God” is the truth of the eternal  security of the believer and cannot  be interpreted to mean, as Calvinists  teach, that God only predestines some  to eternal life. 

Eternal life is the free gift of God  available to all who will believe on  the Lord Jesus Christ who shed His  precious blood to redeem us. 

If God has already chosen some to be  saved and they cannot resist the call,  and if He has chosen the rest to be lost  and they cannot respond to the call,  then there is no point in Christ coming  and dying for the sins of the world. 

Calvinism is faced with the charge that  they have by-passed the crosswork of  Christ and have a salvation that does  not need a Saviour or atonement for  sins. They endeavour to avoid the  charge by saying Christ did not die for  the sins of the world but only for the  elected which is a denial of the plain  statement of Scripture that, 

the Father sent the Son to be the  Saviour of the world” (1John4:14).  

In this life, evey born-again believer  is “waiting for the adoption, the  redemption of the body” (Rom.8:23)  and all who are thus “in Christ” 

after believing in Him, have been  predestinated to the adoption or our  glorification as the perfected sons of  God, changed into the perfect image of  the Lord Jesus. 

John states that,  

“now are we the sons (children) of  God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when  he shall appear, we shall be like  him; for we shall see him as he is” (1John 3:2). 

Peter makes it clear that God 

“hath begotten us again unto a  lively hope by the resurrection of  Jesus Christ from the dead, To  an inheritance incorruptible, and  undefiled, and that fadeth not  away, reserved in heaven for you(1Peter1:3-4), 

Since there is a place reserved in  heaven for those who believe in Christ  then God must have predetermined  that every believer will be glorified and  every believer can therefore be sure  that they are eternally secure.  

“Nothing shall be able to separate us  from the love of God which is in Christ  Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8:39). 

Our adoption “to Himself” is secured  and “so shall we ever be with the Lord”  (1Thess.4:18). 

For the Church, that will take place at  the Rapture!