Sons and Daughters of God
Central to our identity as Christians is our claiim to be children of God. He is our Father. We become his daughters. We are reborn as his sons. Yet none of us have a direct bilological link to God. The New Testament makes it clear that our claim to be children of God comes by adoption. “God sent forth his son,. . . that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5). Romans 8 uses the “children of God” language frequently, anticipating a future aspect of our relationship with God as we “wait for adoption of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
We are not natural children of God, but adopted ones. God became our father because he wanted to be our parent. We are children of God, not because of what we did, but because of what he did. We share in the family inheritance, not as natural sons like Jesus, who is God’s only begotten son, but we are in God’s will because of adoption. We enjoy the privileges of being part of God’s family. We wear his name. God cares for and protects us. Legally, theologically, biblically, we are God’s children.
Jesus is our brother, not by birth, but as a result of our adoption. We are kin with Christ through God’s choice to make us part of his family. The Holy Spirit lives in us, not by physical birth, but by spiritual birth. Our adoption was granted, not by the civil courts, but by God;s grace. Our adoption is not governed by state law, but sealed by the blood of Christ.
We can scarcely talk of being God’s adopted children without being aware of the broader concept of adoption on which it is built. Our adoption as children of God spiritually is modeled on the way in which parentless children are adopted legally. The adoption of orphan children by non-biological parents is modeled on the way in which God adopted me as his son and you as his daughter.
The situation os vulnerable children arises every time we speak of being children of God. What God does for us spiritually is the basis for what God wants for orphans physically. Each time we thank God for that mansion reserved for us in heaven, we speak as adopted children. We must remember that God’s plan for parentless children in our society is that they be taken into adoptive homes where they share the family inheritance just as we share in God’s heavenly inheritance. Every prayer that begins with God as father comes from the lips of a spiritually adopted child and recalls God’s desire that every parentless child be taken into a home where they have a father.
The biblical roots of Christians taking care of fatherless childen go deep into the core of our faith. The language we use to describe our relationship with God is built on what a couple does in taking an orphan as their own child. The actions a childcare agency follows in placing a child in an adoptive home reflect what happens each time a person is baptized into Christ and becomes a child of God.