Christians know that the Father has only one begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Lord, whom He gave for the world (John 3:16). The term “only begotten Son” indicates a unique relationship that exists only between the Father and the Son. Only Christ has such unity with the Father that has existed from eternity and shall continue forever (John 1:1; 14:9; 17:5).
However, those who have become obedient to the gospel are also referred to as children of God or sons of God in the New Testament. This is made possible by God's adoption of faithful Christians through Christ. In Ephesians 1:5-6, Paul by the Holy Spirit wrote that God “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” God foreordained that those who live by faith in Christ would be adopted into His own family. Let us consider three messages from this text: (1) the meaning of adoption, (2) the means of adoption, and (3) the purpose of adoption.
To be adopted is to be brought into a family as a natural child and to be given the relationship and the privileges of a true descendant. To be adopted as a child of God is to be brought into the family of God and to be given the tremendous honor of having an intimate parent-child relationship with the all powerful, all knowing God. To be accepted by Him as His own child is an immeasurable blessing when we consider His great holiness and our own unworthiness. By adoption, Christians not only have the privilege of calling upon God as their own Father, but they are also made to be fellow heirs with Christ of the inheritance of God (Rom. 8:15-17). All Christians share these blessings together as His children and are thus closely knit as a family, supporting one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Christ is the only means by which this spiritual adoption of children is made possible. Without the efforts and sacrifices by Christ, there would be no way to enter into this family relationship with the Father. Consider what a great sacrifice it was for the Father to give His only begotten Son. How many would be willing to give their own children so that others could be adopted into their families? Certainly, none would be willing, especially when we consider that those who were adopted were mature people who were sinful and undeserving of mercy. Therefore, we should be forever thankful for this adoption, “for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27; see also 3:28-4:7).
The purpose of adoption through Christ is to fulfill the will of the Father, for He desires for all people to come to Him through Christ (John 14:6; 1Tim. 2:3-4; 2Pet 3:9). It is His “kind intention” or “good pleasure” that all believers be added to His family by adoption through Christ. This adoption also has the purpose and the result of “the praise of the glory of His grace” by those who are adopted by Him. Thus, the will of the Father is perfectly accomplished through Christ.
One of the greatest blessings for a child who is adopted is to know that he is wanted. Because of his adoption, he will have a family who loves him and a place where he belongs. Likewise, when God adopts a person into His family, that person has a loving family to which he belongs. Let us understand that God wants all people to become His children and be part of His family. No one should ever feel unwanted because God desires for all to be saved. Every person who will respond to God through faith and obedience to the gospel of Christ will be adopted by Him. Therefore, no one should miss the opportunity for adoption, for there is no greater honor than to be called a child of God.
Stacey E. Durham
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