THE POWER TO BECOME SONS OF GOD
Verses 10-13 say, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But 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.”
John says “He was in the world.” The verb “he was” is an imperfect tense referring to continuous action in the past. John did not use the aorist tense and gather up the whole history of his Lord’s stay on earth in a point of time. He used the imperfect tense suggesting the continuous exposure of Jesus to the world over the period of His life and ministry. John adds, “and the world was made by him.” The Creator was in human flesh. The natural man never accepts the teaching of the Scriptures when they present truth like this. It gave the lost religious leaders of Jesus day a problem and it gives unsaved men the same problem today. One of the identifying marks of a cult is that they do not believe in the deity of Christ. Several will argue with you that they do. But they do not believe that Jesus is God incarnate in the flesh. They deceive by the use of their own private definitions to the old terms. This way they can say, “We believe in the virgin birth.” But they do not believe what true Christians believe when they say the same.
The Athanasian creed says, “Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation: that he also believe rightly [faithfully] in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess: that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance [essence] of the Father; begotten before the worlds: and Man, of the Substance [essence] of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God: and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead: and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he be [is] God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking [assumption] of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Substance [essence]: but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man: for God and Man is one Christ.”
Man wants to believe in a god that is subject to his rational thought. A god of this kind is not god at all.
Then John adds, “and the world knew him not.” The word “knew” (ginosko) according to the Linguistic Key means, “to know, to recognize, more than intellectual knowledge, rather ‘to be in right relation.’” This is a revelation of the spiritual bankruptcy of mankind. Think about the event of his birth and the things he did during his ministry that only God could do. Yet they did not recognize him. I have a problem that will illustrate. I will be looking for a book in my library and as I look for it on the shelves, it will be right before my eyes and I will not see it. Jesus was right before their eyes and to them he was just another man. This will give you a little glimpse of that to which the eternal Logos humbled himself.
Next John says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The words “He came” (erchomai) means “to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning.” Where did he come from? He came from heaven. He came from the bosom of the Father, and from the Holy City, and from the eternal now, outside of time separate from time, from a state of protection into which no foreign power could penetrate, and all the safety that that eternal place offers. He came from that place from which he spoke and the things we see and the things we cannot see suddenly appeared simply because he spoke the word. He came from that eternal place into time, and into a virgin womb, and into a stable, and into a hostile environment, and subjected himself as God manifested in the flesh to a world that didn’t want him or recognize him. John said, “He came unto his own.” “His own” means his own nation; it means his own people whom he had raised up of the loins of Abraham and made of him a nation of people whom he had rescued as a slave people from Egypt and established them in the land of Canaan. “His own” refers to those he had given the Law and the Covenants. It refers to those to whom he had given the Scriptures. It refers to those beyond the borders of the nation of Israel because he was their creator to. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The words “received” (paralambano) means “to accept or acknowledge one to be such as he professes to be.” They did not accept or acknowledge him for what he claimed to be. This means they believed him to be an imposter. They believed him to be a liar. They received him not.
Next John says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” The words “But as many as” identifies a group different from a world who rejected him and refused to receive him. This group identifies all the saved. John says, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” The words “gave he” is an aorist active indicative verb. The active voice means that he made the choice to do it. The word “power” (exousia) means “authority.” He had the right as God manifest in the flesh to make such a gift. I’ll never forget a preacher in Oklahoma City who had a man come forward in a service and give him a check for one million dollars. It got into the papers. They rejoiced in this great gift. But in a short time they realized this man was an imposter. He did not have the resources or the right to make such a gift. What a disappointment! What embarrassment that the preacher had fallen for such as this! Jesus did have the resources and the right to give those who received him the power to become the sons of God. Then John adds, “even to them that believe on his name.” This is what those who received did in the process of receiving him, they believe on his name. Every verb and verb form in this verse is aorist tense except this one. The verb “received” means that they did this at a point of time. The word “gave” is aorist tense and means that Jesus gave them at that point of time the power to become the sons of God. The words “to become” are an aorist infinitive and speak of a point of time in the past. But the word “believe” is a present active participle. It is saying that those who received him continue to believe. I have a part of my past that it not a good story to tell. It was a time when I got away from the Lord and did not serve him. This went on for a period of about eight years. But I can tell you that I never ceased to believe in Jesus. I knew I was wrong. But I never ceased to believe in Jesus. A believer will always be a believer. If you have faith in the circumstances of your religion, you may become an apostate to that faith. If you have your faith in your church, you may become an apostate to that church. If you have faith in Christ, there will never be a reason to disbelieve in him. Paul said in Roman 10:11, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The word “ashamed” means that one will never be embarrassed that he put his faith in Christ.
May the Lord bless each of you.