But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13  

The Right to Become God’s Children (Jn 1:12-13 )

| Jan 17, 2016

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But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. —John 1:12-13

These verses are about our identity as believers in Jesus. It is important to slow down enough to think about who this passage says we have become if we have trusted him.

First, we are children of God. If you’ve trusted Jesus, he’s given you the right to call God your Father. A few verses later, John says that “from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:16). The one who is everything we need in himself is our Father!

But there is more about our identity in these verses. The question must be raised, how does one begin such a relationship with God? There is only one way–the passage says: through God himself.

It is not of blood; that is, you aren’t God’s child simply because you come from a line of believers, or an upstanding family. You aren’t God’s child because you have a solid reputation. It’s not about your past, or your record, or who you know.

It is not of the will of the flesh. No one can simply decide to trust Christ, completely of their own volition. We are morally incapable by ourselves.

It is not of the will of man. The world, in itself, cannot produce people who trust Jesus. Everyone was born in sin, and in sin they will stay… unless a miracle happens. This brings us to what our salvation is.

Our salvation is of God. That is, God initiated our salvation, God enabled our response, and God keeps us in him. Although we have a part to play, it is really God who does all the work.

What a confidence we have, in this! If we did not earn our salvation, we cannot lose it. If we did not choose God, he will not let us go. The reason that our relationship to God as his children is ultimately and eternally secure is that it is his doing, through and through. It is ultimately for his glory, and God is more committed to his own glory than anything else. Isn’t it wonderful, then, that the greatest joy we can ever know – a relationship with God – actually glorifies him?

We are the beneficiaries of a true miracle: God has given us the right to become his children. This really is miraculous, and we ought to pray for the eyes to see it for what it is!


  1. When are you tempted to see your salvation as being “of blood,” or “of the will of the flesh,” or “of the will of man”? How do you fight these lies with truth?
  2. How do you stir up thankfulness in your heart for the miracle God has done for you?
  3. How does the knowledge that you are God’s child affect your daily life?


Joe Eaton is 24 and currently living with seven other young men in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, MN. He studied Christian counseling at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN, and is looking forward to serving the LORD as a counselor in the future. Joe is passionate about mentoring jr and sr high students, writing, teaching the Word, and connecting with people.

Children Desiring God (CDG) publishes Fighter Verses and offers products to support you in your Bible memorization efforts. CDG also publishes God-centered Sunday School curriculum for children and youth, parenting booklets to equip parents to spiritually shepherd their children, and the Making Him Known series of books for family devotions.


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| Jan 19, 2011

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In the opening pages of his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Lloyd-Jones writes: It is possible for us to read the Bible in such a mechanical manner that we derive no benefit from doing so. . . . It is a good thing to read the Bible daily but be quite profitless if […]


Child of God—Anyone, But Not in Any Way

| Jan 17, 2011

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Reading the Bible is such an interesting adventure. Just when you might think the text is going to zig, it often zags. In John 1:12-13 we have the unqualified promise of the Gospel joined with the specific work of God necessary for someone to be saved. Everyone who receives Jesus Christ for who He really […]