I believe that any one aspect of our identity in Christ can be studied so thoroughly or yield so much depth that we could spend months on each one. So, this study will not be that deep, instead it will offer the first couple of layers and if you want to go deeper, you have the tools and the ability through the Word of God, His Holy Spirit, and the wisdom of Christian teachers to find out more. Also, if there is an aspect you want me to teach, please let me know and I will. Today, I would like to begin with what it is to be a son or daughter of God.
That fact that as a believer, you are adopted by God, that you become His child should have a huge impact on who you are in life. Your family on earth has so much to say about your identity, how much more then is your heavenly family going to affect you. Many people I know don’t have a good or strong earthly family, they feel alone, disconnected, unloved, adrift, or they simply do not know who they are. If you are one of the people lucky enough to have firm familial ties or a loving family, then you are more likely to have a cultural identity, to know where to turn in times of distress, and you are likely more resilient, happier, and more prone to try, more apt to pursue a challenge.
Brother and Sister, when you called on the name of the Lord for your salvation, a marvelous thing happened, a miracle and one of the many great things that miracle brought you was adoption into God’s family. You are not a household servant or slave, you are not a lady-in-waiting or trusted valet, but His very own child with all the privileges that brings. Galatians 4:4-7 says,
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Let’s read those same verses in The Message,
But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
The relationship with God as your Father isn’t a cold father, a distant one, but one in which our spirit calls to His, Abba! Abba is a word that implies a deep loving connection to the father. It is a term used to communicate with the Heavenly Father, to address Him as Father. It is one Jesus used when He prayed in the garden, when He agonized over the Crucifixion which lay ahead of Him (Mark 14:36). It is a term of honor and profound affection and strong relationship. When we are saved, we enter into that same relationship! As if that intensely personal relationship were not enough, there is more to being a child of God than that. Galatians says, we are heirs, meaning we share in an inheritance. Ephesians 1:14-23 talks about it,
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
What is the inheritance we share in? Part of it according to this passage in Ephesians our completion or perfection to the fullness of Jesus Christ. It is the promise that we will be conformed to the image of Christ. That means that our character, our nature, and our spirit will align with His character, nature, and Spirit.
It is also the power and authority with Jesus for eternity. As a child of God, we have His authority to join in His mighty works. To do the same works that Jesus did and even surpass those amazing things. Read what Jesus had to say to us about this in John 14:12-21,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Jesus is the guarantor of that inheritance (Hebrews 7:22). We often think that means He guarantees or secures our inheritance, but it really means He pays the debts owed so that we can receive everything else free and clear. The inheritance promises the Holy Spirit who is also the deposit of the inheritance, that means that we get to enjoy a portion or trust from the inheritance now before The Day we will receive it in whole (2 Timothy 1:14). He grants us wisdom, discernment, and understanding, He allows us to experience eternal life now before we experience it in Heaven or New Jerusalem. He grants us gifts to build up the kingdom of God and add to it (1 Corinthians 1:11). He is with us as our Counselor. He is in us and gives us the power to work the awesome gifts He bestows. He compels us to love and righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:14). He gives us the ability to be loving, kind, patient, and all the other traits of Jesus. And He conforms us to the image of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).
Jesus described our wonderful position in God. We are wrapped up in this multiple position with God. Jesus in the Father, and we are in Jesus. In Him here means we are within Him, inside Him protected by Him and safe. He furthered our positional description in John 17:20-23 when He prayed in the Garden.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
Just as Jesus and the Father are one, united perfectly, so He wants the same for us. The Father is in Jesus, Jesus is in the Father, Jesus is in us, and the Father in Him again leading to a unity with God that cannot be broken. The Father loves us the same as He loves Jesus! He is in us, inside us working, inside of giving us that intimacy with Him. Furthermore, we are loved by Him on another level as well. God loves the world, but He loves us on top of that as His very own, His child.
Our position as children of God also grants us the ability to ask for anything in Jesus’ name, which means with the same purposes and love of Jesus as His representatives for anything and as Jesus said, He will do it! Jesus also reminded us that our Father will always give us what is good not bad, He will give us what we ask for and not some evil replacement for that request. Jesus said it like this in Luke 11:9-13 reads,
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus taught this right after teaching the disciples to pray. That intimate Father/child relationship requires a relationship. It requires real communication. If you never speak to your Father, are you actually in a relationship with Him? If He speaks to you and you ignore Him, don’t bother to know Him enough to even recognize His voice, and don’t obey what it is He asks of you, can you say you love Him?
Being someone’s child also means you share their culture, you share their nature, you are like them. Yesterday, I spent time with some cousins and we had to keep laughing over how very similar our senses of humor were, how much we were all like Grandpa, and how some members of our family were exactly like him. My dad for instance is so very much like his dad that he couldn’t help but pass those mannerisms and attributes down to me. My cousin is just like her mother, not only does she look like her, but she has the same kindness, the same hospitality, and the same way of expressing her love. She also is angered by what angered her mother, rejoices over what delighted her mother. She is her mother’s daughter.
We are our Father’s children, He gave us His Spirit and that means we have His nature. We portray His attributes and what angers Him, angers us, what delights Him, delights us. 1 Peter 1:3-8 says it this way,
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We actually pursue the character of God, we make every effort. We have already escaped the corruption of the world and sinful desire, we don’t have to allow sin to decay us and take us further from God’s character; we press on to be the love of Christ.
This is only the beginning of what it means to be God’s child. Yet, even this is huge. Imagine, who you could be if you lived as the son or daughter of Almighty Loving Awesome God, the Creator, the Lord of Hosts, the God who sees me, our Provider, and Healer. I encourage you today to have that intimate Father/child relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I remind you too that God is one, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the One True God. If you need a reminder of that, if you need to consider that without Jesus you cannot come to know the Father or the Spirit read Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus and His names from Isaiah 9:6.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Son, Jesus is called Wonderful Counselor, one name of the Holy Spirit. The Son is called Everlasting Father. You see you cannot have one part of God without the entirety of who He is. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and, Prince of Peace.