I’m continuing the series on: How God Sees Us, which commenced here.
As well as being born of God we are also adopted:
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:14-15).
Paul was writing in the context of Roman culture and in this culture, adopted sons received the same rights and privileges as children born into the family. Of course, being Roman culture, sons had a privileged position. However, Paul is telling us all who receive God’s Spirit, that is both men and women, are adopted to sonship. In Christ, we are all adopted. The actual Greek phrase that Paul uses means that those who have been adopted have the full legal standing of an heir.
So why does God tell us we are adopted, when we are already his born-again children?
First it’s important to know that we do not get into God’s family by adoption. The only way we become part of God’s family is through being born again. As Jesus told Nicodemus: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:5-7).
When we are born again we are spiritual babies, but because God adopts us, he gives his baby children, adult standing in his family. We don’t have to wait until we grow up spiritually or become spiritually mature to enjoy all the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus. We can immediately live in the light of our spiritual inheritance. We have the full legal standing of an heir.
The second blessing of being adopted is that we know God wants us. Adopted children are often taught that they are specially chosen, whereas parents of birth children have no choice as to what sort of child they get. God has special chosen us, he wants us. A person may have been unplanned in our economy, but they were never unplanned in God’s. None of us were unwanted or unexpected accidents. We are God’s unique creation, created for a relationship with him. Another place where Paul writes about our adoption is in Galatians 4:
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:4-7).
We are adopted because Jesus redeemed us and again we see that we can call God, “Abba, Father.” In the past we may have been told that Abba is a term a little child would use for their Father, something like Daddy. However, scholars now tell us that it was also used by adult children too. And in Mark 14:36 we see that Jesus used this term when he was praying. From these verses in Galatians we see being adopted is connected with the privileged position of an heir. God longs for us to be born-again and adopted as his children so we can enjoy the privilege of calling God our Father and know that we have full legal standing as his child.
The third place we find this is in Ephesians: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
It was always God’s plan that our final standing with him would be as his full-fledged sons and daughters of God.