with Jeremy Westcott –
God the Father sent Jesus to ‘redeem those who were in bondage to sin’, to buy us back from slavery. He set us free, but it does not stop there – we are adopted into His royal family, and become His heirs. In this family relationship, we find and enjoy acceptance, affection, affirmation, approval – and unlimited access to our Father, to Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit.
The right to become children of God
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
Everyone reading this has the right to become a child of God. That is astonishing! Everything we have done in our past has been overcome because of Jesus’ death on the cross.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God (1 John 3:1)
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16).
That word ‘know’ means ‘experience’. If God is love, and God is in us, then love is in us, and we can experience it for ourselves. In fact, we can live in it, every moment of every day.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children (Rom 8:14).
Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Gal 4:7).
An inheritance for you
You are the son of a Father who has an inheritance for you. Not only that, but He has released that inheritance to you so that you can experience the fullness of that relationship. That relationship of intimacy in sonship is something He has always wanted and planned for each of us:
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Eph 1:5).
Slaves and orphans struggle with the fear of trusting, and therefore live a life of independence. If we cannot trust anyone else, we will feel we are on their own. God does not want us to feel alone. If, because of that fear, we fail to fully grasp that we are sons, then there is no way we will act like sons either.
We may find it hard to trust because of past experience. We have all been hurt, all been damaged, all been let down by people. We may be afraid of being hurt, rejected, or disappointed. We may suffer from fear of failure, or fear of losing control.
But losing control is the very thing we need to do. We need to surrender control to God, and trust Him to have our best interests at heart. We have to stop being independent and learn to trust Him as our Father. When we do, we embrace everything He has for us, because he will cause our destiny to be outworked in our lives.
A loving, affectionate Father
You see, the completed work of salvation does not make us slaves (servile followers of a tyrannical God). That is what religion presents, and it is the lie which leads astray so many people who would otherwise turn to God. No, this great salvation makes us sons (grateful children of a loving, affectionate Father). That is the difference between religion and relationship. Religion will always put us into bondage (the word ‘religion’ even comes from a Latin word meaning ‘bound up’), but relationship will bring us freedom.
To be liberated from slavery is wonderful. But to find that we have been adopted as a son and made a co-heir of the Father’s entire estate is absolutely astounding! If we were to fully understand what it is to have access to the wealth of our Father (and I’m really not talking about money), it would totally transform our lives. Because of our adoption, the nature of our whole relationship with God has radically changed. We are set free from that religious perception of God as a hard taskmaster just looking for every opportunity to punish us, a God we have to somehow try to appease by doing our good works (only to find that nothing we can do is ever quite good enough).
There is no punishment in store for us as His children, just love and acceptance, forgiveness, grace and mercy.
Reserved in heaven for you
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).
I hope we all understand by now that ‘reserved in heaven for you’ does not mean that you have to wait until you die to go and enjoy it. Jesus has opened up heaven for us and we are seated there with Him: everything there is for us to discover, and we can walk in that inheritance as sons right now. And God is looking to reveal more and more of what it means to be sons, what it means to be part of His family, what it means to have a relationship with Him.
In the past, I have ministered to people who had been adopted, and they can struggle, in a natural sense. In spite of much love from their adoptive parents, they can still have a feeling of not belonging, of not fitting in (and especially if they come from a different country, race or colour). But when we experience adoption by God it is like we have found our eternal home, as if we have come back to how things should always have been. Because that is the reality of it.
Steal and kill and destroy
But (and it is a big ‘but’)…
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy… (John 10:10a AMP).
The accuser, the father of lies, wants to remind us of our past and our history in order to rob us of our present and our future. He wants to rob us of our adoptive inheritance and destroy our relationship with God. Yet Jesus said,
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (John 10:10b AMP).
Who are we going to listen to? If we are smart, we will listen to Jesus and embrace the fullness of what the Father has destined and provided for us.
Related articles from Freedom ARC
- Whose Slave Are You?
- Restored to Original Condition
- God’s Eternal Purpose
- A Journey Quest for Identity
- No Longer a Slave but a Son
Other resources from Freedom ARC
- Engaging God subscription, for the Joshua Generation – click here for details
- Destiny: Identity mp3 audio teaching series by Mike Parsons (this post has again been drawn from session 2). The mp3 audio of session 1 is available free of charge here
- Exercises: How To Enter The Spiritual Realm and Interact with God (YouTube video)
- Freedom Apostolic Resources website and Freedom ARC Facebook page