It’s not what I do that makes me. In my weakness I grew strong. Held my tongue and I’ve learned from errors made early. A brush with the devil can clear your mind snd strengthen your spine.
—Mumford & Sons, ‘Whispers In The Dark’
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14
God has been rocking my world lately about the fact that we are sons of God and heirs with Christ. The very thought that we are adopted into His kingdom overwhelms my heart and speaks so greatly of His grace. As believers, we are under God’s fatherly care and discipline. God, as our Father, wants the best for us, and that is for us to be like Him and to glorify Him in all things. Through His son’s death for us we now able to pray to Him and call Him, “Abba,” which is the Aramaic word for Father. The English equivalent to the word is, “Daddy.” This is the form that Christ used to refer to God and indicates intimacy and trust as opposed to the formalism of legalism. God’s relationship with us is based on intimacy and love. It is a personal relationship, that of a Father. To truly understand what a blessing this is from God, we first must understand a couple of truths.
First, without salvation, we are the very enemies of God (Rom. 5:10), slaves to sin (Rom. 6:17), and children of darkness (Eph. 5:8). “We were not cute little orphans that God was attracted to; we were enemies in rebellion against God” as John Piper said. We deserve nothing from God except for judgment and condemnation, BUT God chose to intervene “because of the great love with which he has loved us,” (Eph. 2:4) and gave us the gift of justification. Justification is God’s act of pardoning sinners and accepting them as righteous for Christ’s sake. Henry Smith, an English Puritan preacher, says this about justification, “ He hideth our unrighteousness with His righteousness, He covereth our disobedience with His obedience, He shadoweth our death with His death, that the wrath of God cannot find us.” As Smith portrays, Christ replaces who we are with who He is (Gal. 2:20). In order to adopt us as sons of God, God first had to justify His enemies and make them worthy of His calling by changing our hearts to be like His.
Second, God’s justification not only saves us out of the misery of hell, but it also saves us into the blessings of heaven (Eph. 1:3). Too many times we miss this. When we think of salvation, we only think of deliverance from hell, but there is more than that! The gift of justification is accompanied by the gift of adoption, that is, becoming a child of the heavenly Father. Justification is the basic blessing on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing for which justification clears the way. In adoption, a son is brought into a family and is given the same rights as a child who is born into the family. So Christ’s incarnation and death secured believers the full rights of sons. All the enjoyments and privileges of a mature son in a family belong to those who have entered into the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work. The basis of all this comes from Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” The phrase, “fullness of time,” literally means, “time appointed by the Father.” God’s plan had always been to send His son in order to redeem us and claim us as His children. Christ’s purpose in His death was to redeem us into sonship with the Father. C.S. Lewis describes Christ’s purpose by saying, ” The Son of God came to make us sons of God.” Our adoption was not an after thought to God. It was His divine plan the whole time. So how great of a love does God have for us if He sacrificed His son in order to save sinners, who oppose Him, not only out of hell, but even more, adopts us and blesses us with every blessing from heaven.
Lastly, why do we receive these blessings? Because not only are we sons of God, but we are heirs of God. Galatians 4:7, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” The beginning of Galatians 4 Paul describes how “the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world” (verses 1-3).So just as an heir, when he is a child, or a minor, does not receive his inheritance, has no freedom, and can make no decisions himself, we, when we were without Christ, were slaves to our sin, with no freedom and controlled by our desires (Eph. 2:3). But Galatians 4 reads on. We see that through Christ, God redeems us out of slavery to our sin and into sons and heirs of God. Romans 8:15 describes our redemption from slavery by saying,” For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” It goes on to say in verse 17, ” and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” As heirs, we are recipients of all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), and in eternity we will share with the Christ in all the riches of God’s kingdom. So we have have joy for the present in the fact we are sons of God. He is our Father and is personal in His relationship with us and cares for us as His children. But even more, we have hope for tomorrow in the inheritance in eternity (Eph. 1:11)!