We're in a series where we will see how the gospel of Jesus affects every area of our lives. Each post will look at how the truth of the gospel changes how we view a certain aspect of life and its implication in our lives.
Recently my wife and I have been planning our son’s fourth birthday party. (Wow, how did he grow up so fast?!?) As we’ve been thinking about celebrating another year of his life, I’ve been remembering the first time I met him and how I’ve never been the same since.
I love my son more than I could have ever thought I could love someone, let alone someone I had never met before. As soon as I heard that first cry, my heart exploded with a new joy I had never known before. Immediately when I held him in my arms for the first time, I knew I would stop at nothing to protect him, provide for him and that he could do nothing that would stop me from loving him.
This week I’ve been meditating on the truth that if we’re in Christ, we have a heavenly father who loves us like this. And not an imperfect fatherly love but rather he loves us perfectly and fully. Now as Christians our identity is a daughter or son of the ultimate father. We’ll come back to this idea in just a minute.
As we continue to unpack our identity in Christ, we must begin with the foundation of the gospel. We spent some time in the last post defining the multifaceted diamond that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
One facet of the gospel is that our identity goes from enemy of God to his adopted child and heir. Though we were his enemy, he forgave us and adopted us into his family. “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
As a Christian our new identity is God's child, loved so much by him that he sent his son to die in our place so that we could be adopted into the family and become his heir alongside Christ.
As we view our identity in Christ as the adopted (read: chosen and graciously welcomed) sons and daughters of God, we can get a glimpse of his love for us and our relationship with him. (Now this analogy breaks down because we live in a fallen world and I am by no means a perfect father but it begins to beautifully and profoundly describe the Father’s love for us.) Just as my newborn son did nothing to be loved by me, we too are unconditionally loved by our heavenly father just because we are his children. The only thing my son had to do in order to receive my love was just be my son. He is loved not because he is perfect, behaves the way I want him to, or accepts me or my love. He is loved because he is my son.
God pursued us when we were spiritual orphans and chose us as his adopted children. He didn’t have to but he wanted to and it gave him great joy. And again when we are in Christ, our father calls us his heirs! We are adopted into the royal family and alongside Jesus we are given all the spiritual inheritance of our Father.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” – Ephesians 1:3-5, 11
Because of God’s love, he chose (predestined) us from eternity past and graciously gave every spiritual blessing. I’m not sure everything that all entails but it sure does sound great! Just as my son doesn't have to worry about losing my love regardless of what he does or doesn't do, we as Christians can view God's love, grace, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and inheritance in the same way.
So if you’ve ever seen a great father loving his children or hopefully you even had a father who resembled this kind of love to some extent, remember that God the father loves you in not just a similar way, but in a perfect way. God has graciously given us the picture of families to help us understand the good news of the gospel.
Charlie will always be my son and he can be secure in that. And just like my son, you can rest in your heavenly father's unconditional love for you.
SPENCER PETERSON / COMMUNITY LIFE PASTOR