Being made in God’s image is not the same as being a child of God. God creates all humans in His image. 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (Genesis 5:1-2)

“And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).

Being made in the image of God does not mean that we are sinless, but rather that we can, through faith in our Savior Jesus, have a personal relationship with God. He created humans to work, think with a brain, reason, speak, make choices, be creative, and love others. He gave us a moral conscience so that we would have the capacity to do the right thing. 

Humankind was created to be a visible representation of who God is and how He forgives, loves, and shows no favoritism.

“The imago Dei is not a quality possessed by man; it is a condition in which man lives, a condition of confrontation established and maintained by the Creator. … The imago Dei is that in man which constitutes him as him-whom-God-loves”. (John Piper writes in Desiring God)

Since God creates all human beings in His image, aren’t we all His children? 

The Bible says no. Every human being is designed by God in His image and loved by Him, but sinners are also by nature. We are controlled by sin.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34).

No one can be in the presence or have fellowship with our Holy God until our sins are forgiven and our natures restored.

“Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10)

As believers in Christ, we have a “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). And as we grow in faith, we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Once we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, God blesses us with the security that He will never abandon us or let us be taken from Him. We become His child forever throughout eternity. 

“In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us,” (Ephesians 1 3-4).

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).

The life of a child of God will be radically different from the life of an unbeliever. 

  • A child of God desires to live in a way that brings glory to God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Being children of God means we have access to the “throne of grace” through prayer where we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
  • He is confident that the “Father in heaven [will] give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
  • A child of God has an eternity in Heaven guaranteed. (John 3:16–18)
  • A child of God is sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13–14)
  • A child of God is eager to do good works (Titus 2:14) because saving faith is a faith that changes us. (James 2:14, 26)
  • A child of God lives for Him on earth and eagerly awaits a future with Him in Heaven. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20)

It is God’s will that all come to a saving grace through Christ. God has no favorites; he calls people from every nation, no matter how they have sinned, to come to Him. We, too, as Christians, must be about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people. This is the great hope given to all of us: Heaven awaits for all of God’s children.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3,4).