Pastor Morgan Murray
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
Romans 8:15-16 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family–calling him “Father, dear Father.” 16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children.
I’m not adopted. On a family vacation one summer I met distant relatives. I began to introduce myself but my great aunt said, “No need, honey. I could spot a Murray in a mud hole.” By my looks, my behavior, my strengths and my weaknesses I reveal my family of origin, whether I like it or not.
Nothing describes belonging like the word family. But what about adopted? I am surprised when parents tell me about their children saying, “We have two daughters Emma and Natalie, and an adopted son Connor.” Why the distinction? I’ve never had the courage to ask. But I’m sure I’d be told that all the children are equally claimed as family, and equally loved.
In God’s family, there is one child that is more equal than others. Jesus, the unique Son of the Father, is the one who taught his disciples to address his Father as “Papa,” which became a name for God in early Christian prayers (Mt 6:9, Gal 4:6). He is the one who sends the Spirit, who in turn speaks to our hearts with the loving words, “You belong to me.” The Spirit enables us to grow increasingly in the Father’s likeness as we imitate his only begotten Son.
Roman adoption—which could take place at any age—canceled all previous debts and relationships, defining the new child wholly in terms of his or her new relationship to the father, becoming his heir. We were once slaves to sin, and the quality of our lives showed it. But, no more. God’s claim on us changes all that. And God’s claim is forever.
Prayer: Loving Father, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit, enable me to live into my identity as your child with confidence and courage. Amen.