Fourteen-year-old Lina lived in an orphanage for older children in Bogota, Colombia, until last year when she learned that a family wanted to adopt her. “I was so happy I cried,” Lina said. “And I thanked God. Because that’s what I really wanted— to have a family that understood me. They will be there in every moment. They will value me as their daughter. I always wanted a family who would love me.”
Adoption is one of the common metaphors used for salvation in the New Testament. Yesterday we described how God is our Father. That truth is also taught in today’s reading, which also includes some additional perspectives on being adopted into God’s family. First, there is a sense in which the moment we come to faith in Christ we are adopted as God’s son or daughter. But there is also a sense in which we look forward to the adoption being finalized when Christ returns. Both truths are included in this passage.
Paul declares that in salvation “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship” (v. 15). But just a few verses later, Paul reminds us that we “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23). There is an “already/not yet” aspect to this adoption. We can relate to God as Father now even as we wait to experience the full rights of our adoption in the future. We still have blessings to look forward to in Christ!
Paul also describes another relationship we have gained through our adoption. Not only is God our Father, but Jesus is our elder brother. Paul declares, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (v. 29).
>> While there is clearly a difference between Jesus and us, He is God, and we are not. Jesus is also called our brother. Because of our identity in Christ, we share in His sonship. This includes being made “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (v. 17).
Father God, being Your child is a wonderful thing. Like Lina, our hearts are overwhelmed that You loved us enough to make us Your children. Help us to remember what a privilege it is to be a child of God.