by Rayola Kelley
Q: The Freemasons have a saying, “The Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man” and the modernist churches seem to teach that everybody is a child of God, both saved and unsaved. This is confusing to me because in the Old Testament you read about the “children or sons of Belial” and in the New Testament Jesus told the Pharisees that their father was the devil. Can you please sort this out for me? Thank you.
A: The rule of thumb is if something is not in the Bible, it is probably not correct or true. The first two terms mentioned in your question appeal to the intellect as being logical and politically correct, as well as to the senses as being sound, but they have no Scriptural basis. As for the scriptural term, “child of God” there is criterion as to what it means to be a child of God.
The truth of the matter is that mankind falls into two categories: children of God or those who are under the spirit of the world, making Satan their father. It is true that God loves the entire world, but, due to sin, man has been separated from God, alienated from His eternal life. Out of love for His creation (man) He sent His Son to die on the cross. It is only upon receiving the Son as the solution and antidote to one’s fallen, depraved spiritual condition, can a person be born again into His kingdom. It is this new birth or new disposition within that identifies a person as being an adopted “child of God” and part of the Lord’s heavenly family. Until a new birth experience has taken place, a person is an enemy of God (John 1:12; 3:5; 11:52: Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 1:5; 1 John 3:1-10).
Children of God are also sealed by the Holy Spirit, identifying them to an eternal inheritance. Their lives are to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and show forth the image and glory of Christ. Even though believers are in this world, the world knows them not because they do not belong to it. In fact, we are told the world will hate the saints of God because it hated our Lord (Ephesians 1:11-14; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 15:18-19).
It is true that Jesus identified the Pharisees as being children of the devil in John 8:44; but, we are told in Ephesians 2:2-3, that before believers were children of God, they were children of wrath because the spirit of the world had worked in them, making them children of disobedience. In Matthew 7:21-23, we read the sober warning about those individuals who do good works in the name of the Lord, but fail to do the will of the Father. Their works were not only counted as iniquity, but they were commanded to depart from the presence of the Lord.
Obviously, regardless of how religious they may be, some individuals have been imitating their father, Satan. Before salvation all people are under God’s abiding wrath. This brings us to the “sons of Belial.” You can only find this term in the Old Testament, but the word “Belial” is used once in the New Testament in the matter of coming into agreement with the demonic (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). “Belial” points to that which is worthless, evil, naughty, and ungodly. It is another name for Satan. Clearly, there is no profit found in being associated with this unprofitable state or association.
This brings us back to who we will ultimately be identified to. Certain groups can use all the flowery terms they want to cover up the dire situation mankind is in. They can emphasize that God is a Father when it comes to humanity and they can talk about the brotherhood of man. However, such rhetoric does not change what is. Not every person is a child of God, and a child of God is not part of the brotherhood of man. Even though such ideas can even lead back to heretical beliefs such as “Universalism” (where everyone will be saved in the end), the Bible is clear that many will strive to enter into the kingdom of heaven but few will (Luke 13:24). It is appointed for man to die once then judgment (Hebrews 9:27). If a person does not leave this present world with the seal of being born again from above by the power of God, he or she will come face-to-face with his or her real father, the devil, and he or she will taste the bitterness of his or her true master (sin) as he or she pays the price of death with his or her very soul in the bowels of hell.