You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, Abba, “Father!” (Romans 8:15). In this verse we find great joy. We have been “adopted” as sons and daughters of the Father. In this adoption, we have come to know God intimately, so that we can address him in that most familiar of ways, as Abba.

In our baptisms, we have not only entered into a new life, but into a new relationship with God. As his adopted children, chosen by him personally, we have become heirs through Jesus Christ, whose sufferings and glories we now share. That is natural, is it not. When we are adopted we become heirs to all that the family experiences. And we can also count on all of the support and encouragement of the family as well. We can count on this in this “family” of God, perfectly.

As children of God, we are called upon to live in accord with the Father’s will. We are to submit our often feisty and rebellious wills to the will of the Father and, in doing so, we grow in maturity of faith, in self-discipline, and in contentment. It is in knowing the Father, and in obeying him by imitating his Son that we find our true meaning and purpose in the world. Of course, we know by experience that this is not easy. But we also know that, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, is slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). Because, through grace, we have come to believe in Jesus, we can trust him when he tells us, “Do not be afraid” (Matt. 10:31).

As adopted children and heirs to the kingdom through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we also have a destiny that far exceeds the sufferings of our present lives. If we remain true to our adoption, if we remain steadfast in faith through suffering and through grace, that destiny in the Spirit will be finally realized. We will enter into that eternal relationship with the Father in his kingdom.

Lord, Your love and your grace overwhelms us with gratitude and joy. Help us to be your obedient and faithful children in all that we do in our daily lives. Help us, too, to be examples of your love and forgiveness to all we meet. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!