Posted by: rcottrill | June 24, 2009

Whose Child Are You?

One day in 1920, a young woman jumped from a Berlin bridge, apparently attempting to commit suicide. When she was rescued, she said her name was Anna Anderson. But was it? We may never know. Sad to say, because of her troubled mind, she would be in and out of a mental institution for years to come.

A Startling Claim
Some time later, Anna claimed she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. But the Tsar’s whole family had been murdered years before–or so people thought. So had one of them escaped? Or was this an imposter? Or was she simply deluded? Anna (or Anastasia) seemed to have a great deal of inside knowledge about the royal family. She eventually went to court to try to establish her claim. But even today, years after her death in 1984, her true identity remains in doubt.

An Important Question
Whose child are you? The answer provides a significant fact about you. We often have particular physical or mental characteristics passed on from our parents. And certain rights and privileges go with our family relationship, including our right to inherit what once belonged to others.

Something similar happens in the spiritual realm. When Jesus told the Jewish Pharisees, “You do the deeds of your father,” they thought he was speaking of their ancestor Abraham. But then Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (John 8:41, 44).  (Ouch! How that must have stung their foolish pride!)

The Bible calls sinners “the sons of disobedience,” and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2, 3). Because of their spiritual heritage, the lives of unbelievers are marred by sin, and they have inherited God’s eternal judgment. Not a happy prospect. But everything changes when the individual trusts in Christ as Saviour. Through faith, he or she experiences a new birth, a spiritual birth (John 1:12-13), and becomes a part of the family of God.

A New Relationship
We each need that inner transformation. The Bible says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus….Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 3:26; 4:7). What a privilege, to be an heir of God! In the joyful words of a hymn written by Harriet Buell in 1877,

I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Saviour,
I’m a child of the King.”


  1. I really find this whole story fascinating – certainly one of the great mysteries of the 20th century!

    I love the parallel between Anna Anderson and confusion over whose children we are. We are so often confused ourselves, and others often think greater things than they should of others – or lesser! Great thoughts. 🙂

    • Yes, there is sometimes uncertainty about whose child we are, spiritually. Another problem can be that Christians fail to act like children of the King. Perhaps churches need to shoulder some of the blame for this if they fail to teach their people about the riches of grace that are ours in Christ.


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