Are you in God’s family? As believers, we already possess a wealth of benefits and privileges because we are in Christ, reconciled, sanctified, but God has provided us with another incredible privilege at the moment of our conversion; that of adoption.
This is a truly amazing event, and it happens instantly when we put our trust in him.
God doesn’t just justify us, forgive us, and leave us to our own devices. He also doesn’t cleanse us from sin, reconcile us with himself, only to exclude us from his activities and the intimate relationship of being with the trinity; leaving us to live alone in eternity mingling with angels and feeling like a stranger. Forgiven, yes, but having no sense of belonging. No! Adoption means we’re included intimately and happily into all the things God’s saying, doing, and planning.
We are brought into the full privileges of sonship – God is now our Father where he makes us members of his family. (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26; 1 John 3:1–2). Whilst speaking of sonship there is an inference that is also inclusive – we are the sons and daughters of God. Since Israel’s historical days have been characterized by great inheritance rights going to the oldest son, our adoption signifies a special privilege as a son.
John mentions this amazing adoption at the beginning of his gospel, where he says, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). In other words, we are now God’s children (1 John 3:2), but we await the full benefits of adoption when the Lord returns and gives us our glorified bodies so we may fully enjoy him forever.*
The New Testament epistles bear repeated testimony to the fact that we are now God’s children in a special sense, members of his family. Paul says: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. Remarkable!
When in prayer we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:14–17). Although we are now God’s children (1 John 3:2), we should also note that there is another sense in which our adoption is still future because we will not receive the full benefits and privileges of adoption until Christ returns and we have new resurrection bodies.
Paul speaks of this later, fuller expression and sense of adoption when he says, “Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). Here Paul sees the receiving of new resurrection bodies as the fulfillment of our privileges of adoption, so much so that he can refer to it as our “adoption as sons.”
This means we should be encouraged by the fact that we are never alone, we are part of a loving, intimate family relationship and no matter what happens to us, we are by our father’s side who helps us and provides all the assistance we need.
God is our Father who knows all things, has all the power to accomplish all that he plans, and is everywhere, so we are never alone.
Don’t forget that inclusive, powerful and wonderful prayer, “Our Father…”