We have all felt alone and disconnected at times. As humans, we have an innate need for belonging, for community, for family. The good news of the gospel is that through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. Though we were once separated from God due to sin, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has brought us near and made us all one family as children of God.
- All people are invited into God’s family through faith in Jesus.
- Jews and Gentiles alike can be grafted into the spiritual family tree.
- Adoption grants all believers full rights and privileges as God’s children.
- The Holy Spirit confirms our adoption and assures us of belonging.
- As part of God’s household, we gain brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Our adoption transforms how we view and treat fellow believers.
We Are Adopted Through Faith
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The apostle Paul wrote, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 NKJV). Our natural birth binds us to an earthly family, but being born again into God’s family is a supernatural work that only God can accomplish. When we place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit seals us as God’s children.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul expands on this truth: “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV). God’s household transcends earthly divisions of race, class, and gender – all are welcome to become part of the family by grace through faith.
The invitation into God’s forever family extends across time as well. The Old Testament heroes that walked with God looked forward to this promise.
“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (Hebrews 11:32-34 NKJV).
All who longed for the Messiah – whether centuries before his coming or looking back after his resurrection – become participants in the family of God when they trust in him.
Jews and Gentiles Grafted Together
The dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles presented a challenge in the early church. Most Jewish believers saw Christianity as a branch of Judaism and wanted Gentile converts to adhere to Jewish laws and customs. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, adamantly opposed placing this burden on non-Jewish followers of Jesus.
Paul used the metaphor of olive trees to explain how Jews and Gentiles come together in Christ:
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:17-23 NKJV)
Though Jewish people were God’s chosen nation in the Old Testament, most rejected Jesus as Messiah. A remnant of faithful Jews became the first Christians, but the gospel soon spread rapidly among Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles who accept Christ are grafted onto the same spiritual family tree. It is only through faith in Christ that either group becomes part of the people of God.
Adopted As Full Heirs
When God adopts us as his children, he grants us full status as heirs of his kingdom. Paul explains this beautifully:
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!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15-17 NKJV)
Though adoption confers all rights and privileges of sonship, our inheritance does not come without cost. Just as Christ suffered before entering his glory, we will also face trials and suffering. But these temporary troubles are not worth comparing to the eternal rewards of heaven we will share with Jesus (Romans 8:18).
Our adoption papers have Jesus’ own blood signed at the bottom – we have the Spirit within as a guarantee of our full reward to come. And just as the Holy Spirit hovered over Jesus at his baptism affirming his Sonship, he confirms and assures us of our adoption each day. What amazing grace!
The Spirit Confirms Our Adoption
A concern some adopted children experience is whether they truly belong in a family that is not their biological kin. Our loving heavenly Father understands such insecurities, so he placed his Spirit within us to constantly affirm that we are his. Paul writes, “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’” (Romans 8:15 NKJV). Abba was an affectionate Aramaic term meaning “Papa” that Jesus himself used in addressing God. The Holy Spirit moves us to use this same intimate term, confirming our family relationship.
Not only does the Spirit call God “Abba,” but he testifies directly with our spirit that we are God’s children. We belong to him. This inner witness brings confidence and peace as we rest in his love. The Spirit also enables us to discern spiritual truth, understand Scripture, and directly access God through prayer – privileges unique to being part of his family.
We are also sealed with the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our inheritance and proof of God’s ownership. Paul writes, “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NKJV). The seal of the Spirit marks us out as God’s prized possession, assuring that the full benefits of sonship will one day be ours.
Members of Christ’s Body
When God welcomes us into his family, we not only gain a perfect Father but also brothers and sisters throughout the world. Paul explains, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household…” (Ephesians 2:19 NKJV). We are fellow citizens in God’s kingdom and members of Christ’s own family.
Paul goes on to say that we are “joined together and rise to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22 NKJV). Together, we form a spiritual dwelling place for God’s presence. The church is God’s household on earth.
This new family connection to other Christians should transform how we interact with fellow believers. Paul writes, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10 NKJV). As brothers and sisters in God’s family, we are called to mutual honor, affection, and unity. When one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers together (1 Corinthians 12:26). Our adoptive family bonds should be even stronger than those of our physical families.
Adoption Changes Our Identity
When we receive Christ by faith, we become new creations. Our identity is forever changed. We are no longer simply John or Sarah – we belong to God! Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). The sinful person we once were is gone as we are reborn by the Spirit into God’s family.
This new identity transforms the way we live. We become imitators of God, living lives of love just as Christ loved us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Sin loses its grip over us as we find our satisfaction in pleasing our Father. By the power of the Spirit, we put off the old self corrupted by sin and put on our new self formed after God’s likeness (Ephesians 4:22-24). We embrace our new identity as beloved children of God.
The blessings of adoption are immeasurable. John exclaims: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NKJV). We are not second-class family members, but full and cherished children who bring our Father joy. While the world may not understand us, we rest securely in who God says we are – his dearly loved kids!
Take Up Your Inheritance
If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, do not delay becoming part of God’s family. Turn from sin and place your faith in him today. When you do, God will send his Spirit to confirm that you belong to him forever.
For those already adopted into God’s household, live each day in light of your true identity. Draw close to God your Father and find your purpose and meaning as his beloved child. And surround yourself with your local church family who can support and encourage you in the faith. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need each other to persevere and live empowered by the Spirit.
God invites you to leave behind your broken past and join his family. He offers adoption, unconditional love, purpose, and an eternal inheritance in his kingdom. Embrace him today as your perfect Father. You have a home in God’s household forever.