“You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you adopted as his children.” (Romans 8:15a CEB)
To really appreciate what Paul is saying here we need to understand the Roman law as it applied to adoption. When a person was adopted under Roman law their past ceased to exist. Any record of your past was destroyed. You received a new name that connected you to your new father.
So, when Paul writes that we are adopted as God’s children, our past no longer exists in God’s eyes. We become his children, with a new name – Christian -to show we belong to God.
But it gets better. If we are God’s children, then we are also sisters and brothers with Christ. You may think it doesn’t get any better than that, but it does. As brothers and sisters with Christ, we become joint heirs. All that God has done for Jesus will be done for us. We will share in the resurrection. We will share in being in God’s presence.
As children of God, sisters and brothers of Jesus, comes the responsibility to carry on the work of Christ. His care of those in need and separated from society is our model. We are not being asked to do anything that he didn’t do. And when we do this work God’s kingdom comes near.
Lord, continue to light the way forward for us and thank you for adopting us. Amen.