It is important to make a distinction between those who are positionally the Children of God and those who are functionally the Children of God. While teaching in Jerusalem at the Temple, Jesus said, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came forth from God and am here, for I have not even come on My own, but He sent Me” (John 8:42). Christianity often puts only the needed importance on the question of whether or not we ever believed, but too often fails to put the needed importance on the question of whether or not we actually love God. It is a question about our Christian walk and how we function daily in that walk. John, the Elder, taught “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). If we do not obey God and observe His commandments, we do not love God or His Son. Our Christian walk is a manifestation of whether or not we actually love God. This is not a question of our positional salvation, but rather a question of our experiential salvation. This is also not said to encourage the judging of others. This is an issue between each one of us and God. Are we obedient to His commandments? As I have stated many times, obedience is a matter of walking by His Spirit and Word.
The Apostle Paul taught “all who are being led by the Spirit, these are the sons and daughters of God” (Rom. 8:14). As I have discussed in previous blog posts, every Christian is marked by the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God, and thereby, every believer is positionally a child of God (Gal. 3:26). However, most Christians do not consistently walk by the Spirit. If we sin, we lose fellowship with God. John, the Elder, taught us to simply acknowledge our sins to God, and He will restore us to fellowship (1 John 1:9). However, as a part of our Christian growth, we want to be more and more consistent in our walk. Again, this is largely a private matter between each individual Christian and God.
It is reasonable for us to inquire as to what it is like to walk by the Spirit. In earlier blogs, I mentioned that walking by the Spirit is like being attentive, intelligent, reasonable, responsible, and functioning in love. Those five words and concepts were taught by Catholic Theologian Bernard Lonergan, and his words have been impactful on my thinking. However, an Old Testament story regarding Elijah is also very helpful. After Elijah had stood in opposition to and killed the Prophets of Baal, Elijah was on the run from the evil Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). She had sworn to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19). He fled many miles away to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God where Moses received the law (1 Kings 19). Fearful for his life, Elijah hid in a cave. However, the Word of God came to Elijah. God said to him:
“Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking up the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a sound of gentle blowing. (1 Kings 19:11-12)
God’s Word comes to us via the Spirit like a “gentle blowing sound.” It is important for us to remember that lust is loud, but in contrast, the Spirit is a “gentle blowing sound.” The New King James translated the forgoing as the familiar “still small voice.” The Hebrew word demama is a noun defined as a “calm whisper.” The Hebrew word daq is an adjective meaning “thin, small, or fine.” The Hebrew word qol is a noun meaning a “voice.” Over the centuries, many have asked, “What do God’s words sound like?” His words sound like “a still small voice” or “a gentle blowing sound.” God changes the world by His Word that is like “a gentle blowing sound.” Walking by the Spirit is a type of conscientious living.
As John, the Elder, taught, Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10), and His sheep hear His voice. He calls His own sheep by their names, and He leads them out (John 10:3). His sheep listen to His voice (John 10:16).
The Apostle Paul taught, “Do all things without complaining and argument; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:4-15). The believers of the Exodus, the believers of the First Century, and the believers of the 21st Century were and are all largely crooked and perverse generations. They complain and murmur against God. On the other hand, the authentic Children of God seek to live under God’s authority and listen to the “gentle blowing sound” (a/k/a the Holy Spirit). These believers appear as lights to a corrupt and dying world.
In closing, John taught, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother and sister” (1 John 3:10). John used the Greek verb poieo, which means “to do or make.” The NASB used the word “practice.” We are called to practice Christianity, and as John taught, this requires us to practice love toward God and our neighbor. If we do not obey His commandments, we do not love. There is an important functionality in being authentic Children of God in that we love both God and also His children. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and follow His commandments” (1 John 5:2). We practice righteousness by loving God and our neighbor. If we are not obedient to God, we do not practice righteousness or love. God’s direction and guidance is constantly coming to us like an ever-flowing river of the water of life from beneath the throne of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:1). As John wrote in the Book of Revelation, “The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22).
Humanity is called to a new way of functioning (or being in Christ Jesus). We must listen to the still small voice of the Spirit and walk according to God’s law. His laws consist of the principles taught in the Word of God (the Bible). As John taught, the Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6), and God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). We are sanctified by the Spirit and the Word. To reject our new way of being in Christ is sin. This new way of being is righteousness. To live according to the way of Satan (the ruler of this world) has been judged (John 16: 1-16).
 Please see my blog post “Salvation is a Continuum” on this website for more information about experiential salvation.
 Lonergan, Bernard J. F. Method in Theology. University of Toronto Press, 1971, pp 20,106,109, 268.
 “H1827 – dᵊmāmâ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nkjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Oct, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1827/nkjv/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H1851 – daq – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nkjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Oct, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1851/nkjv/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H6963 – qôl – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nkjv).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Oct, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h6963/nkjv/wlc/0-1/>.
 “G4160 – poieō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 3 Oct, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4160/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.