Astonished Children of our Adopting God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 2:28-3:3 ESV)

What Adoption Means

God loves us (1 John 3:1)

This is what John gushes over. What love! That we would be called children of God! God relates to us as his children with a fatherly love. Jesus speaks of this in his Sermon on the Mount and tells us if our earthly fathers knew how to do good for us, how much more our heavenly Father?

I think it would dramatically improve our perspective on God and faith if we saw God according to his fatherliness, and we as the objects of that fatherly love. If he loved us when we were in the orphanage, how much more will he love us now that we are in his family?

He loves you. Christian. The Almighty God chooses to call you his child and to relate to you with that tender, fatherly love. Amazing.

God is not our judge, but our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9)                   

Jesus encouraged us when we pray to pray, Our father in heaven. I think we can pray to “God” and even to other members of the Trinity. But Jesus didn’t give that model; he gave us the model of praying to the Father. Just acknowledging his fatherliness says a lot about how I view myself. If God is my Father, then I am his child.

God disciplines us for our good (Hebrews 12:7ff.)

Having a dad is great until discipline time. How many of us know the dreaded feeling when Mom would say, Wait till your Father gets home! Why? Discipline was coming. Now I look at it and I’m glad my parents did.

God disciplines us for our good. If you are experiencing his loving discipline, submit to it. He only means good by it. Embrace whatever your heavenly Father is teaching you.

We are entitled to an inheritance as children of God (Ephesians 3:6)

Mark my words, someday you are going to come up to me in heaven and say, I had no clue, not a clue, what it meant to be a child of God! Incredible privilege! We have an inheritance.

We are all in the family of God together (Hebrews 2:11)

If God is your Father, then you are a brother or a sister. The basis of our Christian relationships is our mutual adoption by the same heavenly Father. Being in God’s family means we have filial responsibilities to one another, primarily to love but also to serve, pray for, encourage, admonish, and many others. It is a privilege to be in this family. Every brother and sister is someone God loves, shouldn’t I as well?

May all the children of God be astonished and all the remaining orphans receive this offer by faith. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NIV 1984)

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Additional Scripture quotations taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© 2013 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address ( on the copied resource.

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