There is such sweet security in knowing the completeness of your position in Christ. Yes, insecurity seems to strike at the most uncomfortable times, and often through the most unlikely situations. But your revelation of the total process of redemption, both sonship and placement through adoption, will free you into the security of who you are.
From the very rich to the very poor, in all segments of society, insecurity is a leveling agent; it is no respecter of persons. As young children, perhaps we carried what were called “security blankets.” Into circumstances both new and frightening we carried them as warmth of the familiar in strange and unknown surroundings. But we outgrew those security blankets. Some of us outgrew teddy bears, some of us outgrew sucking our thumbs. But all of us know the pangs of insecurity.
God wants to surround you with a security blanket that will free you from the fear of insecurity. He wants you secure in the assurance that He has taken care of each part of your life: past, present, and future. I once received a letter from a woman who testified of the security which God filled her life with. I thought, “Dear Lord, how we all need what this woman has.”
She reminded me, “You gave a teaching on David’s wife, Bathsheba, and how she was forgiven after committing adultery — and is even in the lineage of Jesus Christ! Her son, Solomon, even said, ‘She’s a virtuous woman.’ ”
The woman writing said, “That story relates to me. My unbelieving husband left me and our three young children for another woman. Shortly after, in my hurt and disillusionment, I thought nothing of getting involved with another man — even though I was a Christian! I soon found I was pregnant, but he was nowhere around. I didn’t want to add the sin of abortion — murder — to my already-existing sin of adultery. I decided to keep the baby.”
The woman repented of her sin and promised that she would raise this child according to the admonition of His Word. But she said, “After having this new baby I just kept worrying about what to tell my other children. How could I cover up my sin of adultery? I thought the other children would hate me and the baby.”
But the Lord showed her, “Your past is over. Your children will not turn against you.” He comforted her. She wrote in her letter, “I can now rest peacefully in the security that my children will rise up and call me a blessed, virtuous woman because of the security God has given me in His Word.”
She is secure about her past, she is secure about her present, and she is secure about her future. The heartwarming part of her story is the end, for she and her husband were reunited in the Lord and in their marriage. They are a family again and serving Him today. She is a secure woman who found the substance of her security in God’s Word. He has a security blanket for every area of your life too, but God’s security blankets are only for believers.
Look around. You’ll see unbelievers everywhere grabbing every available security they see; money, people, you name it. They’re looking for security in all those things, but outside of God, security eludes them. They’ll try Eastern philosophy, but it only makes them ask more questions; they have no answers. They’ll try drugs or alcohol, but eventually they sober up again. Only Jesus Christ can bring the peace of security because Ephesians 2:14 says, “He Himself is our Peace.” He is our security.
Jesus Christ has given you security because He made peace between you and God. He gave you something very special: first, He gave you regeneration, which is the new birth which makes you God’s son. But you are more than a son, for the Bible says you were also adopted.
Most Christians know that they have been born‑again, and they understand that Jesus has given them new life. But few realize that adoption is a separate process. You have been adopted, and that is where your security comes in:
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:1–5)
You were in bondage before you received the precious gift of salvation through Jesus’s shed blood. When you were born‑again you were “redeemed,” or purchased back for God’s possession. Sin no longer rules as your master, you now belong to God and you are His child. But you have more than just a title. Galatians 4:5 says that Jesus redeemed us who were under the law for one reason: “That we might receive the adoption as sons.”
You receive the name, “Child of God,” but it is your adoption by the Father which places you as His child. In the Old Testament when a son was adopted, as Abraham adopted Ishmael, specific customs were observed. You see, although Ishmael’s father Abraham was a free man, his mother was a slave. Legally, although he was a son, he was still a slave. In order to be a true son, he had to be adopted.
We receive the blood of Jesus to become God’s children. But we must also have the adoption which places us in our legal position. Ishmael could only enter into the privileges and authority of a son through adoption.
An adopted son would receive all the authority that his father had and would legally be a son. The son would be equal to the father. In the same way, the Pharisees were outraged that Jesus called God “My Father,’’ because He was equating Himself with God.
In Paul’s generation, Romans practiced adoption of sons. Until age sixteen they were placed under the discipline of tutors. Upon coming of age, the sons celebrated an adoption ceremony which symbolically bestowed the same privileges of their fathers on them. Each boy would now be considered mature enough to handle the responsibility of the position, authority, conditions, and blessings of being a son.
When slaves were owned, but there were no children, a master might watch for a slave who would be worthy of becoming his heir. He would look among his slaves and ask himself, “Who is aggressive? Who is loyal and faithful? I shall adopt that person as my own.”
Sometimes that person was a fully-grown adult, but they were still adopted. Then in the custom the master would say, “I have chosen to adopt you. You will be my child and carry my name, so from now on you are a son, not a slave.”
Then at the completion of the ceremony the slave who was now a son would say, “Abba,” to his new father; he was saying, “You’re my dad.”
As a born-again Christian, God is not just some big master who is trying to whip you into shape. He is your dad, and you are His child. He has adopted you in order to bestow on you every privilege and condition that a son could possess.
My husband and I have an adopted son, so I began comparing natural adoption to supernatural adoption. I thought, “When people adopt children they often choose according to a child’s appearance or abilities.”
I can tell you what happened to us when we first saw Mike at three-years-old. We fell in love with him. My husband said, “I can’t go home without him.”
We adopted Mike spontaneously. We saw him, we wanted him to be our child, and we took him home; it was that simple. We brought him home with us even before the legal work was completed on paper. But your adoption was not spontaneous, for Ephesians 1:4–5 tells you when the Father made plans to adopt you:
He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
He says, “I wrote your plan of adoption even before the world was created.”
You were not predestined to be saved; that was your own choice. But your predestination is found in your adoption. God says, “Everyone who is saved I adopt so they can benefit from the privileges of being in my family.”
God predestined your adoption, and it gave Him good pleasure. He took joy in preplanning you to be a joint heir with His Son, Jesus.
Have you ever wondered why God would want more children? After all, he had the best didn’t He? He said about Jesus, “This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
But Hebrews 2:10 tells us: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all thing and by whom are all things, bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (emphasis added). God wants a big family! He doesn’t just want one or two; for it is His will that not one person would perish, but that He could save every person (see 2 Peter 3:9).
God wants to bring many sons (and daughters) into His glory. He desires to bring you into all the privileges that Jesus Christ obtained through His sufferings. Some people say, “Oh, there will be glory when we get to heaven.”
But God wants us to have glory now. You are His child, and He wants to be your dad while you are living on this earth, and Jesus suffered and shed blood in order to accomplish that work.
When we saw Mike we said, “He is so beautiful and so charming. We want him to be ours.” Most people do adopt by sight. But when God looked at you, did He say, “You are a knockout! My, you have a sweet disposition, you would fit right into my family?”
Or did He say, “Your IQ is exceptional. I need smart people in my family?”
No, God did not choose you according to your looks or IQ. He was not concerned with what you could offer Him. The Bible says that man was polluted with sin. That doesn’t sound very enticing. Ephesians 2:12 says, “You were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
God was looking for some people who were hopeless. He was looking for you: “Their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).
God did not choose you because of your IQ; your understanding was darkened. He didn’t get you because you finished college; you were ignorant. He didn’t pick you out because of your beautiful eyes; you were blinded to spiritual things. God adopted you because He loved you. He didn’t have an adoption list that said, “I only want sweet ones.” He said, “I want anyone who will come to me.” He wants to be your dad. He wants you to know within that He is your loving Father: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ” (Galatians 4:6).
It wasn’t easy for Him to make you His child. You see, adoption costs money. Today if you adopt a newborn baby, typical costs include the mother’s hospitalization, legal fees, furniture, clothing, food, and then you keep on paying to raise the child. A baby is very expensive to adopt. In the same way when the Father adopted you, He really had to pay.
You were so dark and polluted with sin that someone had to die in your place to clean the slate for you. The only one who would — and could — take your place in death was the very child whom God loved the most: His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but He came down and became the Son of Man. You are a son or daughter of man. But through Jesus you became a son or daughter of God. And unlike natural adoption, you even aspire to look just like your Father.
When we adopted Mike, he didn’t look like us. Oh, occasionally someone will say, “Mike looks just like you.” That really flatters me because to be honest with you, Mike is better looking than us. He really doesn’t resemble either Wally or me.
Now if you look at our natural-born child, Sarah, she looks just like her father; if you’ve seen Sarah, you’ve seen Wally. But usually adopted children do not look much like you. And as far as having your behavioral characteristics, they may pick those up along the way, but they are not inherited.
But when you get adopted by your heavenly Father it’s even better. He makes you look as beautiful as He is: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The Holy Spirit, who looks just like the Father, has come to live inside your spirit. He bears witness that God is your Father. He makes your actions resemble the Father’s, and He gives you God’s characteristics. Why? Because He cries, “Abba, Father.” “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
Your heavenly Father has already made the provision to deal with your sinful past. He has destroyed it through the blood of Jesus, and now He has made you His child. You can be very secure about your past because God says, “You aren’t a slave to sin anymore. You are mine.”
Now that He has taken care of your past, He also wants to meet every need in your present life on earth. Your adoption has many benefits for you today. I asked, “Lord, what do we receive through adoption?”
Number one, you receive an inheritance: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). There is that predestination again. God said, “I have not only predestined your adoption; I have also planned ahead for you to receive your inheritance.”
We were slaves to sin with nothing coming to us but hell. In fact, when we were sinners, we probably remember having a lot of hell here on earth. We were slaves to Satan. A lot of people say, “I’m just doing my own thing.” But they aren’t doing their own thing — they’re doing Satan’s thing, and he is a hard master.
When we were born‑again and left slavery behind for sonship, we received the inheritance of all that Jesus obtained through suffering and death. He doesn’t want you living as a slave. You see, there is a difference between a slave and a servant. A slave has no choice to obey; but a servant of God obeys him out of love. We serve him from a motivation of love because he is such a loving Father. He has given us everything that belongs to his firstborn Son: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). And again, “If children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).
A very special part of your inheritance is that not only were you freed from slavery to sin, but you were also freed from the bondage of remembering it. The sin nature enslaved you. People say, “I can’t help myself; I just keep failing in life.” Why is that? It is because slaves are in bondage to their masters. But you have been given a new nature in your adoption and inheritance, a nature which brings total liberation: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (Romans 8:15).
Now let me ask you a question. How can you be insecure about your present with God as your dad? He’s such a great dad; He granted you freedom for your spirit which in turn frees you from the bondage of sin.
But if He paid this expensive price for your freedom, why are so many Christians still bound to insecurity? There are many who are secure about one area of their lives, but very insecure about something else. I remember having an insecurity about getting married. When I first started to date, and it wasn’t until I was sixteen, the young man was almost seven years older than I. My mother was very concerned about it; she said, “He’s going to want to get married, and you just started dating. You have college and your whole life ahead of you.” Then she told me, “You think that since nobody had dated you before this, that this man might be the last one to come along. But that is not true.”
What is fear about not getting married? That is an area of insecurity. Any fear that you get in is a bondage, and insecurity is nothing more than fear. It keeps you from trusting the one who has everything that you need. But you have the Spirit inside telling you, “Dad has your provision.”
I can tell you from my experience that Dad brought me the best husband, and it was at exactly the right time. If God planned for your adoption and inheritance before the foundation of the world, don’t you think He has what you need today? As an adopted child of God, you have true security.
As you start trusting Him for the privileges of adoption, you can be sure that the world will not understand at all. They’re busy worrying about everything:
“Aren’t you afraid of getting cancer?”
“Did you know that the divorce rates are up?”
“Aren’t you afraid about nuclear war?”
The world is bound by a cord of fear and insecurity. As an adopted child of the heavenly Father, your trust is an enigma to all who are spiritually blind: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).
Christians are really strange ones in the world’s eyes. Once a man asked me, “Most women who get in the ministry end up with broken marriages. What makes you think yours will be different?”
I said, “Don’t ask what — ask who. The same God who set me apart for the ministry is well able to make my marriage sweeter every day.”
He can do the same for your marriage, too, or for any area of your life. Look to Him. He is more familiar to you than even the best natural father could be. But there is another condition to your inheritance, and it goes along with all of the blessings; that condition is called chastening.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:6–8)
Discipline is a condition that comes with adoption. If you think you’re going to get away with everything, you’re not. First Peter 2:16 tells us that we are not to use our freedom as a cloak of wickedness, but as servants of God. You have been made free from sin, and chastening is a part of staying free of it.
The first time Mike really misbehaved, we had to spank him, and it wasn’t easy. Wally cried, and said, “I don’t know how I can do this.”
But Mike needed the correction, just as you need Dad’s correction. A once-popular theory was that God’s correction came through sickness and physical affliction. But would you correct your child in that manner? Of course not! That would be child abuse, and it is illegal; how could we ever imagine that God would discipline us in that manner? If you read Hebrews chapter 12 you discover that the correction of God comes through His Word. In His Word is the discipline for those whom He loves. A loving parent would never let his child do everything he wanted. Would you allow your children to run out in the streets to play just because they want to? “Oh, let him play with the electrical outlets; he’s just expressing himself.”
You’d better start expressing yourself, or that child is going to get hurt! It’s the same way with God. The Father who created you knows what the best plan is for your life. He wrote the instructions; now it’s up to you to read His Word and find out what they are. It’s the same way with equipment that we use. If I bought a kitchen appliance, it won’t work to full capacity unless I understand the instructions for use. When you willingly come under the authority of your Father’s discipline, you will work for Him to your fullest capacity.
Another part of adoption is the forgiveness and cleansing that is included in your inheritance. A natural father might condemn you for something: “You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a real problem.” But God says, “If you do sin, and you confess it, then I am faithful and just to forgive you” (1 John 1:9, author’s paraphrase).
God will never bring up a past sin that has been forgiven. And because He forgets that sin, He has installed in your new nature the ability to also forget it and leave it alone: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).
You need more than an inheritance for your present; you need a new nature to have the inheritance. You need more than forgiveness; you need cleansing inside. Now God says, “I have equipped you with the nature of adoption, so I’m giving you the inheritance that goes with it.”
God has given you that inheritance for right now. He wants you to be secure in your present life. He wants you to be able to say, “I’m secure about myself; now I want to minister the same security to others. My needs are met, so I want to meet others’ needs.”
What good would an inheritance be if you didn’t get it until after you died? Your inheritance is for right now, to take care of your present. But if you are concerned about your future, God’s adoption has secured that part of your life also.
You see, when you were adopted, you were also given a seal within. In natural adoption after the papers are legally complete, a seal is placed on them saying, “This is official in the eyes of the law.”
In the eyes of God, your seal of salvation is official, and it is your promise of eternal life. Just as our son’s name became Hickey, your “name” became “Saved,” and it is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Now you have the Spirit inside which will translate you into the glory of your future inheritance: eternal life with your Father.
In the future, even your physical body will be restored into the fullness of adoption. You can be secure about your past through repentance; and you can be secure about an inheritance for the present. But you have a promise of redemption for all eternity: “We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).
You have the promise of physical transformation coming where your body will no longer be under the wear and tear of this world. Jesus has adopted all of you, and the restoration leaves you lacking nothing in future results.
First John 3:2 tells us that although God has given us security for our earthly lives, our future adoption even surpasses that. It outweighs the advantages of earthly kingship: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
You and I, although we receive glimpses in His Word, have no idea of the tremendous fullness of what lies ahead. We will rule and reign with Jesus because of our seal of adoption. And when Jesus appears in glory, you will receive the fullness of revelation of Him. You have a glorious transformation ahead.
When we adopted Mike, my husband told him, “A lot of people have children they don’t want. Many children aren’t planned. Some people want boys, but they get girls. But we looked at a lot of children and babies; we chose you. You are a chosen one.”
And today Jesus says to you, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16). You are a chosen one, part of a chosen generation. But even better, you chose Him back. He didn’t choose you because you were worth it; He chose you because He loves you.
Now every time you enter into your security by faith, you are really saying, “Abba, Abba.” Every financial or physical miracle in your life is the Spirit crying within you, “God, you are my dad.” Every restoration in your life is created because you listened to the Spirit of God within you as He whispered, “Son.”
I pray that you discover how to walk in the security of the knowledge that God’s adoption brings to your past, to your present, and to your future.