My relationship with Jesus Christ is a family relationship. I have said in the past: “From the time you were conceived, God had a plan established for you. Built within that plan was this: for you to be relational.” All of us are relational, but when we are “In Christ”, that relationship is one of “family”. Therefore, we can be assured that our Heavenly Father loves us as one of His own. Why? Because we are. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” We have received the extreme privilege to be sons and daughters of Almighty God. That, my friend, is the truth.
We are children of God, adopted by God, receiving His very Spirit! In other words, we have been redeemed. As children of God, we have been adopted and now take on the likeness, along with all the benefits of God’s Holy Son, Jesus. The price has been paid. Our debt no longer holds us as slave, rather we are rightful heirs to all that is in Christ. Everything. Period.
To fully understand this, I want to offer you some keys, but let me preface those keys with this: “Adoption was written into the Roman culture”. What do I mean by this? Paul was speaking to the Romans in a way that they could fully understand according to their own culture.
Check this out! With adoption, all old debts were completely and fully paid. You came into the new family free from any slave debt. Your slate was wiped clean! How awesome is that?! In Christ, Jesus paid it all at Calvary. Through His resurrection and our belief, His grace covered, His mercy paid our sin debt, and we are free!
Not only that, with adoption, a person was given a new name. I have had friends who have gone into Asian countries in hopes to adopt a young boy or girl. I know of some who returned rejoicing because their young child was given a new name. He or she was gathered up and welcomed into their new family where they were unconditionally loved. In Christ, it’s the same. We too, are given a new name. We too, are gathered up into the arms of our Heavenly Father and unconditionally loved. Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV), says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Next, in the Roman culture of adoption, the father became liable for all actions of the one adopted. In other words, the father accepted all responsibility (debts, crimes, etc.). With our Heavenly Father, He too accepts all of our past actions and all of our future actions and says, “I got it. He’s mine. You have nothing against him.” Hallelujah!!!
Lastly, the new son or daughter had new obligations given to them upon adoption. Those obligations included obedience, as well as honoring and pleasing their father. Yes, with our adoption in Christ, we too have the same obligations. And why wouldn’t we? We have been given new life free from bondage and slavery. We are free from any debt and our actions have been covered. Our obligations become easy. Instead of commanding obedience and honor, we gladly partake each day in obedience and honor because of what Jesus did for us.
All Christians are heirs to the things of God and Christians are the children of God. What makes us children of God? We are led by God’s Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14 says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Our sinful life was put to death (Romans 8:13) and we are led by the Holy Spirit to now love the things of God.
Being a child of God can be defined as Sonship with God. Sonship means we are not born with an automatic relationship with God, rather we receive it as a result of a true relationship with God that is birthed out of salvation and submitting to His Lordship in our lives. I want to share something quickly with you to get this point across. I am an identical twin. My mother gave birth to identical twin boys. I am the second, only 2 minutes apart from my brother. Very early on in my childhood, I learned from my father that we were going to be treated equally; that I didn’t have to do anything to guarantee my equality with my brother. Dad always treated us equally. I had sonship with my father and my brother had sonship with my father as well. We weren’t born with it, nor did we have to earn it, it was a gift. That is the same sonship God has given to us who are His children. Our relationship with God is based completely on a legal act of adoption which was costly to our Heavenly Father. The cost was the life of His Son. That payment is passed along to all who believe.
If you want to know more about the privilege of Sonship with God through our adoption, take some time this week to listen to the podcast by Pastor Aaron Taylor, Extreme Privilege. You can find it by going to http://painesvilleag.com/a-study-in-romans.
Friend, adoption into the family of God is an occasion for celebration! Sonship is the ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to approach God as Father instead of slave master. We are sons and daughters of God!