Which is it?
The three following verses make it clear that a person must be born of God.
John 3:3, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:7, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
1 Peter 1:23, Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Now, my King James 1611, the only Authorized Version, says the word 'BORN!' In fact I checked the Geneva Bible and it says 'borne!' I checked the Bishop's Bible and it says 'borne!' I checked the Tyndale Bible and it says 'borun!' I checked the American Standard version and it says 'born!' I checked the Louis Segond French Version and it says 'nait' which translated means born! The Word of God doesn't say adopted! God is the author of all scripture, therefore, it is God who says, Ye must be born again. God knows the difference between being born and being adopted! God isn't stupid. He didn't accidentally say born but mean adopted. My friend, If you want to enter the kingdom of God you'd better not be saying you're just adopted.
The word adopt has always meant 'accept.' For example, we may adopt a set of rules. It means to accept that new set of rules. We may adopt a certain lifestyle, meaning we start using it as our own. Again it means accept. To adopt means to accept.
The following verses mention the word adoption. Galatians 4:1-5, “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” One must understand that this expression, “the adoption of sons,” refers to an ancient Roman custom wherein a son was declared by his biological father to have full authority as an heir over his father's domain. This is basically like a graduation ceremony. Before the graduation the son was under the authority of the tutors and governors (teachers, principals) and they could spank the son if he disobeyed the rules. The father was not declaring to himself that the son was his. He had already accepted that the child was biologically his. He is declaring that from this point on others must accept the son as they would accept the father. If the son disobeys a rule the teachers may no longer spank the son, disobedience is now a matter between the father and the son.
To adopt means to accept. Today we think of a childless couple who go to an agency and after much frustration of waiting and jumping through hoops they finally are given a child which was physically born of some stranger, and the child now has inheritance rights no different from a child actually born to the adoptive couple. To adopt a child means to accept that child as one's own. To adopt a child is a most honorable and gracious act of love. But we are born children of God when we were born of the Holy Spirit.
But the adoption of sons Paul is talking about is in reference to an actual biological son who has been under the tutoring and admonition of servants, to whom the son had to be obedient, but he is now fully grown and matured and the servants no longer have authority over the son, he is now subject only to the authority of the father. At the rapture, when we receive our glorified bodies, we will receive the adoption of sons. We will then have authority as His son within His domain, which is everywhere. We don’t have that kind of authority now, although we are already born again children of our heavenly Father.
Some good Christians are like Nicodemus, they think we cannot be born of God because we didn’t get born like Jesus got born of Mary. No one suffered through the pain of labor. Labor pain is a result of the curse according to Genesis 3:16. God’s children are not born like children who are born under the curse.
Truthfully, if we tell a mountain to move, it doesn't move. Why? Because God has not yet told everything in His domain to do what we say. But He will someday, when we receive the adoption of sons immediately after the rapture, according to Romans 8:23, "And not only they, but 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."
Jesus says to us in John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In other words, Jesus is telling us that after we are born physically to our earthly parents, we must be born again, only this time spiritually (this doesn’t say adopted), that is, we must be begotten of the Holy Spirit. God then literally becomes our Father.
The following verse says, “Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?”
Clearly Nicodemus did not understand that Jesus was referring to a birth of a spirit within the man. Next, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Before a man can be born again, obviously, he must be born in the flesh. Then he must be born of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus confirms this in verse six, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Note that the first "spirit" is capitalized indicating that this is the Holy Spirit, but the second "spirit" is not capitalized indicating that it is our own spirit. Meaning that which is begotten of the Holy Spirit is spirit too.
Jesus said in John 3:7, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. We have many otherwise good Christians who are marveling. They say, "Born? I don't think so. We are adopted into God's family."
One of the reasons that some people believe we’re adopted by God is that they think the devil is our father according to John Chapter 8, and if the devil is our father then we must be adopted in order to be God’s children. The problem with this is that the people Jesus was speaking to in these particular verses, in John Chapter eight as having the devil as their father, were the scribes and Pharisee’s who were baiting Jesus in order to find a reason to kill him. It is a fact that the devil wanted Jesus dead.
When one simply jumps from a verse in one book to a verse in another book of the Bible, as is convenient to do with computerized Bible programs, he misses the context and is susceptible to using human logic and jump to unbiblical conclusions.
One should read the entirety of Chapter seven before reading all of Chapter eight in order to understand the context in which Jesus is saying that certain of these people have the devil as their father. These people are the one’s who would not hear his words. If one would read Chapter seven before reading Chapter eight then he would not jump to the conclusion that Jesus meant that all unsaved people have the devil for a father. Jesus was specifically referring to the scribes and Pharisees who wanted to kill him.
At the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said in Matthew 6:9, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." Who was Jesus speaking to here? The ordinary Jewish people before him. He said that their father is God, He did not tell them their father was the Devil.
I Pet 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” This says we are born again not by man's seed, but by God's seed.
I Peter 1:3, “…our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again…” Begotten again. Christians are born again. Born the second time by God, the Holy Spirit.
Acts 17:29 says, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God...” The use of the word 'offspring' precludes the idea that we are adopted, as the word adoption is used today.
Also, I John 5:1 says, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” We are literally born of God, not adopted. Today “adoptive parents” do not say that the child was born of them. It is unlikely that they said it in Jesus’ day either.
John 1:12,13 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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This doesn’t say that believers are born of men but adopted by God, it says that we are born of God!
James 1:18 says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits, of his creatures.” Praise God our Father, who literally begat us! He didn't adopt us like children are done today. After the curse God told Eve, “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.” God’s children are not born in the same cursed, sorrowful way that mankind’s children are.
And Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” The many brethren are we who are born again. The firstborn, of course, is Jesus Himself. Notice that we are, or will be, conformed to the image of His Son.
Again, Colossians 3:10 says, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Renewed in knowledge like God! This must be pertaining to a future condition for a saved person because at the present time no one remotely approaches the knowledge of God.
Also II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We are changed into the image of God by the Sprit of the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When a person gets born again he becomes a triune person. We become a new creature, in the image of God, a child of God. Our relationship to God went from being like apples and oranges to being like apples and apples.
Note: we are spiritually born-again, begat, a new creature…we have a spirit, which we did not have before. Furthermore, this is not a spirit that was dragged out of the torment of hell and is now revived, as some people would have us believe. We are 'born! Not revived.
II Peter 1:4, “...That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature...” That we might have a divine nature? Yes! That's what it says!
We also read that we are righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Notice that it says, “after God,” this means like God, in His image.
And Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again…” Begotten…again.
Romans chapter eight is a great chapter, but let's read only verses 16,17, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Glorified together with whom? The one we suffer with, Jesus. Being joint-heirs with Christ should seem blasphemous to anyone who would say that we are not literally the children of God. Note, however, that it would indeed be blasphemy for an unsaved person, one who has not put his complete trust in Jesus, to call himself a child of God. Recognize that although we are joint-heirs this does not necessarily mean that we are equal heirs.
At this present time, we who are children of God are no different from an unsaved person, as far as physical appearance is concerned. Praise God, its “For by Grace are ye saved through faith ... not of works...” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Some unsaved people are more moral than many Christians. Furthermore, sometimes we see a Christian who is such a blatant sinner that the legalists doubt his salvation, though he is lord of all. But someday we will receive the adoption of sons and then all will see that we are sons (children) of God!