I’m glad when a philanthropist builds an orphanage for homeless children. I’m thrilled when that person gives even more and adopts one of them. Most orphans would be delighted merely to have a patron. But then to learn the sponsor isn’t content merely to help me but also wants me. How must that feel?
If you’re a child of God you already know, because it’s happened to you. We couldn’t complain if God had merely loved us enough to send His Son that we might “not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It would be enough for us. But not for God. He “sent his Son . . . to redeem” us, not as an end in itself, but “that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:4–5).
The apostle Paul refers to us as “sons” because in his day it was common for sons to inherit their father’s wealth. His point is that now everyone who puts their faith in Jesus, whether man or woman, becomes a “son” of God with equal and full rights of inheritance (v. 7).
God does not merely want to save you. He wants you. He has adopted you into His family, given you His name (Revelation 3:12), and proudly calls you His child. You could not possibly be loved more, or by anyone more important. You aren’t merely blessed by God. You are the child of God. Your Father loves you.
Father, what a privilege to call You this! Thank You for saving me, and for wanting me.
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Used only five times in the New Testament (and only by Paul), the word translated “adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:5) is packed with meaning. Huiothesia is a compound Greek word from huios (“son”) and thesia (“placing”). Adoption took place when a child (almost exclusively males in the ancient world) was placed in a family that lacked a suitable heir. With adoption came privileges, rights, and responsibilities of family membership. Paul used the term “adoption,” but the concept of family membership is also present in John’s writing: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! . . . Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1–2).