Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 1: Adoption
Day 1: We Lost Our Right to Be Called God’s Children
I work in the Children’s Department of a library. It’s common to see a toddler playing, having a good time, and then suddenly… everything changes. He looks up and can’t see his mom or dad. In that moment – as he’s imagining them gone forever – joy turns to terror. Thankfully, mom and dad are usually just around the corner. When they return, you can see the relief on his face. Having just experienced what it’s like to lose his parents, he knows how lucky he is to have them back. And for the rest of the day, he clings to them just a little more tightly.
The Bible says, as believers, we are God’s children. As a result, we are the recipients of his love and care. He is our Father, and we are his sons and daughters. To be able to have that kind of relationship with the creator of the universe is a remarkable gift. We can’t fully understand how lucky we are, though, until we understand we once lost our right to that relationship.
We were created to be God’s children, but, when Adam and Eve sinned, our relationship with God changed. We are now by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). As sinners, we forfeited our right to call God our Father. As theologian Thomas Oden puts it:
Sinners have lost all right to be viewed as children of God. The prodigals have run away to a far country. Their inheritance has already been irrecoverably forfeited… From the viewpoint of their original family rights, they are self-defined aliens, rebels, without title, having lost all rights of daughterhood and sonship.[i]
We need to let that sink in. Sin once separated us from God. That’s no small thing because, as we noted earlier, God is the source of every good thing. To lose him, therefore, is to lose all love… all joy… all hope.
Thankfully, God didn’t leave us in that state. He found a way to overcome our sin and reconcile us to himself. And we can take joy in that fact. But, if we really want to appreciate what we have, from time to time, we need to reflect on how close we came to losing it all. And when we realize how lucky we are, hopefully we’ll cling to God a little more tightly.
If God is the source of every good thing, what would it be like if he completely removed his presence from you? What would be left after every good thing was gone? Evil? Pain? Suffering? What would it be like to live like that for a year… 10 years… 100 years… for all eternity?
Take a moment to thank God for the relationship you have with him.
[i] Thomas Oden, Classic Christianity: Systematic Theology, Three Volumes, ePub edition, HarperCollins e-books (2009), Book 3, Part 2, Chapter 5.