By Patrick O’Rourke
The apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” What a breathtaking truth that is! The God that is clothed with splendor and majesty, that speaks and galaxies are brought forth from nothing, that holds the universe in the span of His hand, has chosen to take us, filthy beggars and rebels, and adopt us into His family, giving us all the benefits of being sons and daughters of the King of Kings.
“For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God the Father.” ~J.I. Packer
The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:4-5, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” Before God created anything in eternity past, He chose who He was going to adopt into His family. He removed the dividing wall of hostility through the cross of Christ and put the Spirit into our hearts that cries out “Abba Father!” We have been freed from our slavery and given a new legal status in the universe as children of the King.
Our Father in heaven is not like our earthly fathers. Our earthly fathers may abuse us, abandon us, ignore us, fail to care for us or not have time for us. Our Father in heaven will never leave us, He always hears us, He truly knows us, He fights for us, He provides for us, and will never leave or forsake us. His hand of discipline is never in cruel rage, but full of compassion and love, shaping us into the image of our perfect older brother Jesus.
Not all people are God’s children. 1 John 3:10 says “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” As we see, it is not our actions that determine our identity as sons, rather, what we do flows out of what we are. The Pharisees believed that God was their father, but Jesus told them that they were children of the devil. Their sonship was evident by their hatred of Jesus. (John 8:44) Only those who have put their faith in the atoning work of Jesus and have received the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God. (John 1:12)
Our adoption into the family of God comes with enormous benefits. Romans 8:17 says “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.” We are unfathomably rich in Christ. Psalm 2 tells us that Jesus will inherit the nations and the ends of the earth. As co-heirs, we will inherit the earth as well, but this is not the greatest gift we receive. The greatest benefit of being a child of God is that we will enjoy the presence and communion of our loving Father forever. Like Psalm 16:11 says, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Our Father in heaven, we marvel that we can even utter those words. How marvelous the truth that we are called Your sons and daughters. Help us to never forget who we are in Christ. Open our eyes to see the glorious inheritance that awaits us and is already ours as Your children. Thank you for bringing us into your family. Amen.
Patrick O’Rourke is a Christian, husband, father, a Groups Minister, and Hospice Chaplain. He loves the church, the outdoors, acoustic music, and has a passion for helping people find joy in Jesus.