One of the most comforting, loving and compassionate images of God in the Bible is found in Romans Chapter Eight, where the Apostle Paul explains in great detail what it is like to be a part of the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul uses the language of sonship, "Abba", heirs, and adoption to describe the intimate nature of the relationship we have with God because of Jesus.
From an Abusive House to A House of Peace and Love.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15 NIV)
As slaves to sin we have all lived in an abusive atmosphere. Make no mistake about it, the devil himself has abused you and me with countless acts of harassment, accusation, self-harm, self-destruction, self-degradation, abomination, guilt, hatred, shame, abuse of others, and so much more. Satan is an abusive spirit. When you come to Christ you are no longer subjected to that abuse. Paul tells us that our Father in Heaven does not deal in fear. God doesn't wield fear before us, nor does He ever subject us to intentionally abusive things. We are no longer sons of the devil! We are sons of God the Father and have been snatched out of an abusive house and placed into a house of peace and love.
From the view of a child... Imagine the freedom you would feel knowing that your days of abuse were over and that you now lived in an environment on peace and love and trust with a Father who would never abuse you. Adopted kids realize that family is more than biology... family is a term reserved for those who love intentionally and have the child's best interests at heart.
From a House of Thievery to a House of Abundance.
Abused children know what it's like to have things stolen from them. Childhood, opportunity, inheritance, dignity, innocence, and sanity can all be stolen from us. There is nothing your abuser can take from you that God will not repay multiple times over in His house of abundance. The Father does not give as the world gives, but He surpasses what was stolen.
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:17 NIV) Paul says that we actually have a status as co-heirs with Christ! What kind of inheritance is Jesus receiving? Those of us who are in Christ will share in that inheritance. God doesn't deal in thievery. God deals in abundance. God doesn't deal in treasures where "moth and rust destroy," He deals in the treasures found in the storehouse of heaven.
From the view of a child... Unexpectedly and beautifully, the Father will begin to not only stop the stealing, but begin the investment of abundance in them. Imagine the joy of the child who would probably be content to just be safe and free from the abuse and the thievery, but then begins to receive abundance on top of that!
From a House of Loss to a House of Victory.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37 NIV)
The devil takes advantage of helplessness and humiliates people in their weakness. God deals in elevation, strength, and edification. He helps us in our weakness and gives us "more-than-conqueror" status through our adoption. Before Christ we were losers, even though we might be winners in the world's eyes. In Christ we are winners even though we might be losers in the world's eyes. Those who have the world's fame and fortune know what kind of fight it is to maintain that. Those who are adopted can rest because their status of "son" is not something you have to fight for every day.
From the view of a child... Language of humiliation vanishes in God's house. Setups for failure and false promises all go away. Imagine being sure that every action your adoptive Father takes is truly in your best interest. Amazing!
From a House of Insecurity to a House of Assurance.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 NIV) Abused children know what it is like to have to perform properly to try to earn the "love" of their abusive parent. In God's house, His adopted children need not perform in order to receive love. His love is present and decided ahead of time. The devil wants us insecure and edgy, not knowing the next target to hit for approval. God wants us secure and steadfast in the knowledge and experience of His unconditional love.
From the view of a child... Children who are loved unconditionally are secure, not spoiled; loved, not rejected; treasured, not used; formed, not manipulated. As a child in God's house, we can know, sense, experience, and live freely within such a great love.
Adoption ... beautiful.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.