For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.Romans 8:14-15
We are all creatures of God by natural birth, but Paul is careful to use a different word in Romans. Here the word is
children (sons) of God. We are in the family of God, and this is a very distinctive term. This is something that God intends for us to return to when we are in trouble. If you are having difficulty handling your behavior — whether you are not doing what you want to do, or doing what you don't want to do — the way to handle it is to remind yourself of what God has made you to be.
In other words, in the struggle that you have with sin within you, you are not a slave, helplessly struggling against a cruel and powerful master; you are a son, a son of the living God, with power to overcome the evil. Though you may be temporarily overcome, you are never ultimately defeated. It cannot be, because you are a child of God. That is why Paul could say in Romans 6,
Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace, (Romans 6:14 KJV). In this gracious relationship, we are made sons of the living God. No matter what happens to us, that is what we are. Nothing can change that.
It is important also for us to see how we become sons of God. Paul says the Spirit of God found you, and he adopted us into God's family. Some of you may be saying,
What do you mean when you say we are adopted into the family of God? I have been taught that I was born into the family of God. The truth is that both of these are true. You are both adopted and born into the family of God. God uses both of these terms because he wants to highlight two different aspects of our belonging to the family of God. You are said to be adopted because God wants you to remember always that you are not naturally part of the family of God. We are all children of Adam by natural birth. We belong to the human family, and we inherit Adam's nature. All his defects, all his problems, all the evil that came into his life by his disobedience. So by nature we are not part of God's family. This is just like those today who were born into one family, but were taken out of that family and were adopted into another family. From then on they became part of the family that adopted them.
This is what has happened to us. God has taken us out of our natural state in Adam, and has made us sons of God. He reminds us that we are in his family by adoption so that we might never take it for granted, or forget that if we were left in our natural state we would not have a part in the family of God. It is only by the grace of God that we come into his family.
But it is also true that we are born into God's family. Once we have been adopted, it is also true that, because God is God, he not only makes us legally his sons but he makes us partake of the divine nature and we are born into his family. Peter puts it this way:
We have been made partakers of the divine nature, (2 Peter 1:4 KJV). So we are as much a part of God's family as if we had originally been born into it by the grace of God.
There is nothing more wonderful to remind yourself of each day than this great fact: If you are a Christian, you are a son of the living God, adopted and born into his family. Because you are his son, God loves you, God protects you, God provides for you, God plans for you, God hears you, God claims you and openly acknowledges you.
Thank you, father that you have made me your child. I have been both born into your family and adopted!
Have we made the critical transition in mind-set from our identity in Adam to our identity as children of God, in His family? Think of some of the resulting vital distinctions in perspective toward life, death, destiny, calling, etc.