Romans 8: 15-17
As an adoptive father, I can relate to Paul's description of God adopting us as His children. I love my daughter (adopted from China) as much as I love my other children. She had my heart even before I met her. If I can love her so much, I can only imagine how much God loves each of us!
Paul is clever in describing our relationship to God, as he uses the familiar metaphor of Roman adoption that his letter recipients in Rome would have quickly understood. Paul writes, "The Spirit you received brought about your adoption into sonship." The Roman readers understood the following about adoption in their society:
The adoptee lost all rights in their old family, but gained all rights in the new family.
The adoptee became an equal co-heir with other sons. (Sorry, we're talking about a male-oriented society in those days)
Here's a good one: All debts were cancelled when the person was adopted.
The adoptee was absolutely considered a son of the new father, which was such a complete advantage that they had to understand the consequences. When Claudius adopted Nero, special legislation was required so he could marry Claudius' daughter, Octavia!
To understand the work God does for us when adopting us as His children, let's map to the list above.
We gain all rights of the children of God.
We become an equal co-heir with other sons. The main ramification of this is that if we are heirs with Christ, then we will also be resurrected as Christ was. Romans 8: 17 says, "We share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
Our debts are cancelled, meaning, we are set free from sin.
We are absolutely children of God. We are always part of the family. We are always loved. We are always part of God's plans going forward into eternity.
God does this work through the Father's love, through the Son's sacrifice, and through the Spirit's whispered testimony that we are children of God. May we recognize God's loving good works and accept our adoption into His family! Give thanks to God today for all the benefits of adoption.