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Do we grasp our adoption as children of God? As Christians, we should realize that our identity as children of God is of utmost significance. In fact, J.I. Packer wrote, “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.”

Christians’ identity as adopted children of God is not just a label but is a profound reality that gives us a deep sense of belonging and purpose and shapes our beliefs, values, and actions. As we live in this world, waiting and longing for the next, we need to know that we are, indeed, children of God, as the Apostle John marveled:

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1–2)

Understanding our identity as children of God will directly manifest itself in our love for God and other Christians.

The concept of being a child of God is central to the Christian faith. It refers to the truth that believers have been adopt­ed into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This adoption is based not on our own merit but on God’s grace and love for us (Eph. 1:4–6). We should marvel that we are declared to be children of God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way: “Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of, the sons of God” (Q&A 34).

As children of God, we are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). This means that we have a new identity and a new destiny. Our identity is no longer defined by our past, our accomplishments, or our failures. Instead, it is defined by our relationship with God as our dear and caring Father who watches over and protects us. He carries us as His precious infants.

“The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.” (Deut. 1:30–31)

Our identity as children of God motivates our love for God. How could we help but love the One who chooses us, carries us, cares for us, loves us? Our love for God is manifested in our obedience to His commands. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This love is not a burdensome task but a natural response to the love that God has shown us as our Father. William Cowper penned it perfectly in his hymn “Love Constraining to Obedience”:

“What shall I do,” was then the word,

“That I may worthier grow?”

“What shall I render to the Lord?”

Is my enquiry now.

To see the Law by Christ fulfilled,

And hear his pard’ning voice;

Changes a slave into a child,

And duty into choice.

We are more than children of God individually. We are children of God corporately, part of a family whom we have the privilege of loving. Our love for other Christians is not just a feeling but an action. It is expressed in our willingness to serve, forgive, and bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We also prioritize fellowship with other believers, knowing that we are part of the same family and that we need each other’s support and encouragement. These are now our brothers and sisters. We have the same Father.

Our identity as children of God is a profound reality that is manifested in our love for God and other Christians. As we grow in our understanding of this identity, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds and the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:2). May we always remember who we are in Christ and live out our identity as children of God in every aspect of our lives. May we live in the reality that we are truly children of God, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

Branches of the Vine

Holy Partakers of the Divine Nature

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From the July 2023 Issue
Jul 2023 Issue