To join God’s family is the greatest privilege imaginable. Having experienced the joy of forgiveness and peace with God, I find it sad that there are some who think that Christians live lives dominated by rules and repression. They perhaps think that a Christian receives a list of restrictions and is controlled by fear of judgment from God or the church. This is a very sad misconception.
When individuals become Christians through repenting of their sins and placing their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they find freedom and family. At the moment of their salvation they receive God’s Holy Spirit. The verse above explains that this is not a spirit that enslaves or makes us afraid. The Holy Spirit brings freedom from the fear of death and liberty from the power of sin in our lives. In contrast, those who do not belong to Christ are enslaved to sin and in fear of death. All will eventually face God’s judgment for we all are guilty (Romans 3.19).
Those who trust the Lord Jesus to save them are not merely promised escape from coming judgment, but adoption into God’s family. Adoption is the legal accepting into a family of someone who does not have the rights to be there. It goes beyond fostering or caring for this person. Adoption places them into the family with all the privileges of being sons or daughters. In Roman law, an adopted son received his share of the family inheritance, equal to any other heir.
The amazing fact is that we who are guilty and rebellious by nature can be made sons and daughters of the Living God. We can come to God knowing that we are accepted. A son who is loved by his father will have no need to fear him. If he misbehaves, he may still face discipline for his training and ultimate benefit, but he knows he will not be cast aside or disowned. When you become part of God’s family you will always be a member. The letter to the Romans states, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8.1).
The Holy Spirit within true believers of Christ prompts us to call upon our Heavenly Father and know His nearness and acceptance. As children of God we become joint heirs with Christ. We have a future assurance of being glorified together with Christ and coming into all the blessings of God’s inheritance. This enables us to live joyfully with freedom, for we live in light of our relationship with God as our Father.