12 So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs —heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
April and I are Georgia natives. Our greatest friends in Georgia are Scott and Heather. They love God, serve Him so faithfully, and have been a huge inspiration to us over the years.
Several years ago, God began leading Scott and Heather to become foster parents, even though they already had three biological girls of their own. Shortly after their training was completed, they brought a young boy named Noah into their home through the Georgia foster care system.
Fast forward 4 years.
After many ups and downs along the way and long periods of waiting for answers, Noah is now an official member of the family—adopted with a new name.
I have often thought about all the things Noah has gained as a result of his adoption. He now has a family, a safe place to live, a relationship with Christ (as a result of five evangelists living in the house with him!), food to eat, clean clothes, a great chance for a wonderful future, and an inheritance.
The list goes on and on. The fact is, Noah’s adoption changed EVERYTHING in his young life, as a result of Scott and Heather’s obedience to God’s perfect will and plan for their family.
As Christians, our story is similar to Noah’s. In this passage, Paul says that we, too, have been adopted (v. 15). As was the case with Scott and Heather, someone had to be obedient so we could be adopted as well. Philippians 2:8 says that Christ was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
With our adoption came change in its greatest form. Our lives are changed. Our inheritance has changed. Our eternity has changed. We have gone from having no future to having a home in heaven.
John MacArthur writes, “God has appointed His Son to be heir of all things. Every adopted child will receive by divine grace the full inheritance Christ receives by divine right.”
Most people don’t talk very openly about their earthly inheritance. Occasionally, my dad jokingly tells me that all I’m going to inherit is his debt. At least…I think he’s joking…
At any rate, our inheritance as a child of God is the complete opposite of debt. Paul even goes on to say that we are “fellow heirs with Christ” (v. 17). Now THAT is something worth talking about and celebrating.
About 10 years ago, Travis Cottrell & David Moffitt wrote a song that expresses the heart of gratitude for those of us who are now joint heirs with Christ…adopted by God Almighty.
Who I am is a mystery I can’t explain
‘Cause Your mercy feels like healing rain
And washed away my past.
Who I was, all my secrets, all my hidden pain
Now Your grace has broken every chain
And set me free at last.
Who I was before doesn’t matter anymore.
You changed my name when You called me forgiven.
You changed my name when You called me redeemed.
You took my shame and wrote a new beginning to the story I was living
And I’ll never be the same.
You saw what I could be and reaching out for me…
You changed my name.
Now I live in the light of Your redeeming love
And I bear the marks Your healing touch has written on my heart.
With each step I take, I’m reminded of the price You paid
And the living sacrifice You made
To set my soul apart.
My life is Yours alone.
You have marked me as Your own.
I’m not the man I once was.
Behold all things are new.
You changed my name.
- Write it down. Make a list of the things that are different, now that the Holy Spirit lives in you and you are joint heirs with Christ.
- Celebrate. Take time to thank Christ for His obedient sacrifice that resulted in our gain.
- Tell somebody. This inheritance is too great to keep to ourselves. Be intentional today about sharing the gospel with someone.