One of the great mysteries revealed to us in the Bible is that the King of Kings would adopt rebels as his own sons and daughters.
People in every nation are in the same situation—fallen sinners in need of salvation—and the only means of redemption is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus.
Romans 8 gives us a deeper look at the blessings we receive through the Messiah. Not only do we receive forgiveness of sins, salvation from judgment, and eternal life, but we also gain additional blessings through faith in Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we become adopted children of God.
All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 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!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17 HCSB, emphasis added)
When meditating on this passage through the lens of missions, there are two important points for us to glean.
1. When we are adopted as children of God, we become brothers and sisters.
What does it mean to be a part of the family of God? At its most foundational level, it requires that we love and care for one another.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)
Are we working toward the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ, or are we neglecting or harming them through our actions? Are we serving them in love, or do we have an ulterior motive? We must regularly ask ourselves introspective questions like these, both individually and corporately as local church bodies. We cannot lose sight of how miraculous it is that, through Christ, we can call people from other tribes, languages, and nations our brothers and sisters.
2. When we are adopted as children of God, we become co-heirs with Christ.
Jesus is the rightful heir to all the blessings and promises of God. He is the true seed of Abraham and the only one who obediently fulfilled God’s law (Galatians 3:16, Matthew 5:17-18). But that’s not the most shocking part. God displays his marvelous graciousness by joining us to Christ and making us joint heirs to Christ’s inheritance.
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)
We have also received an inheritance in Him [Jesus], predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11-14, emphasis added)
I know a couple who adopted a child in the state of Tennessee. The father told me that during the adoption ceremony, the judge emphasized that, according to the law, an adopted child becomes a coheir with the exact same legal standing as any biological children. In this case, the state laws reflect the biblical reality of the situation. What amazing grace that God would adopt us as his children and make us co-heirs with Jesus.
Regardless of our birth, ethnicity, nationality, or past sins, when we belong to Christ, we become brothers and sisters, and co-heirs to the blessings and promises of God. What an astounding message for us to announce to people in every nation of the earth!