We turn over today to the third of our five topics in this series – that of finding an identity by being adopted into the family of God.
This is a deeply personal concept for me, in that it is not just a theological concept, but is also something I have lived in the natural world. Having been an adopted child, I know that it raises a whole variety of identity issues that run the gamut from total weirdness on one hand, to profound gratitude on the other hand.
Over the years of working with children in a whole variety of situations, I have often become very fond of certain kids who have charming characteristics, yet whom I know to be from terribly troubled homes. And a part of me just wanted to adopt them and take them home and provide for them a better life.
Why does adoption happen? You don’t hear about someone being taken from a solid home and family and becoming a part of a dysfunctional household. No, it is always the other direction. There is a story, always either tinged or drenched in sadness, of a child in need who is in poor or even desperate circumstances. Through some advocacy, a family graciously intervenes with an open heart and open door to make the needy child a part of their own household. It is a wonderful thing to do, but it is costly in many ways – certainly in legal fees and concomitant expenses, but also in emotional investment and long-term challenges.
Our adoption by God through the work of Christ was costly in all these ways. Taken from the mess of being born into a sinful family, our adoption gave us an entirely new family identification and standing. It is also a new legal standing, with new benefits and new obligations. When stepping back and seeing what has happened, it should drive us to a deep sense of profound gratitude.
Before our adoption by God, we were living as the children of the evil one who accused us and provided only for our demise. But now being a part of a new family, we have the opportunity to live as an heir of God and co-heir with Christ. And this is exactly how Paul wrote of this in Romans chapter 8 …
8:14 – For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 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.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
It is all a matter of living out who you truly are. Yes, there is a gravitational pull toward a foolish, older way of life that has a natural bent. But wisdom informs us that this is personally destructive, that we don’t need to live this way, that we are positionally different than that, and we have a new power within to help us live in a new way that is life indeed. Eternal life, with eternal values. It would be pretty crazy to not strive to live in this better way! It would be the height of foolishness to go back to identification and a lifestyle from which we were previously delivered.
Live like who you are: an adopted child of the King.