Understanding Who We Are
- By Ashish Joy
- Published 06/30/2008
Ashish Joy is a 22 years old Malayalee Christian. He is a Theology Major at Portland Bible College in Oregon State, USA. Ashish Joy is a musician, a writer and enjoys computers. Above all, he loves God with devoted passion and desires to see Christians rise up to become world-changers and trend-setters in the ministry and in the marketplace.
This is Article II in a series entitled Living Missionally. Make sure to read Article I before you read this.
There’s a curious passage Paul writes in his epistle to the church in Rome.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”1
As Christ-followers, we are children of God; more importantly we are sons of God through adoption.2 Sons do their father’s bidding. Sons fulfill their father’s request. When you are led by God’s Spirit, you live in daily communion3 with your Heavenly Father; that’s what Paul is talking about.
What is amazing is that we have access to God as Father, as Abba4. Abba is the Hebrew equivalent of ‘Daddy’. We have access to God as Daddy. He is our Father. What Paul is saying is that we must understand that the Almighty, is also a much closer thing. He is our Daddy, in the most endearing and loving of ways.
We have become sons in that God has revealed Himself to us as Father, and also in that His Spirit now dwells in us.
When we look towards a world in dire need of the goodness of God, our perspective must shift. We must bring God’s goodness to the world. Fundamental to following Christ is the perspective that we are His hands and feet. Wherever we go, we bring all that is good with us.
Paul continues on from that passage we looked at earlier and writes the following:
For the creation awaits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.5
Paul here is saying that all of creation has been waiting for Christ-followers to truly be what they proclaim. If we grew in our love and care for people, for those in dire straits, for those who are helpless, what would the world look like? If we actually cared about the environment and being responsible for what we do on this planet, what would the world look like?6
Maybe the reason we have so much trouble living this way is that we don’t really know what our Heavenly Father expects of us. Maybe it’s because we don’t live in that communion with our Heavenly Father.7
Most times the reason we can’t live wholeheartedly before God is not because of what’s going on the outside, but because of what’s happening on the inside. We must grow in the reality of our Heavenly Father inwardly, if we are to live out as sons of God upon this earth.
1. (Romans 8:14-15 ESV) ↩
2. ‘Adoption as sons’ has to do with us now being considered righteous through Christ’s fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17), his death upon a Cross (Luke 23:44-49), his resurrection from the dead (John 20-21), and his glorification as he sits now at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 12:1-2). He is the firstborn among us (Romans 8:29) for we are now heirs with Christ through his salvific work (Romans 8:32). Now as Christ-followers we are adopted into the family of God, and we live out the will of our Heavenly Father. ↩
3. Communion indicates a loving and tender relationship. Our Father God looks upon us with utmost love. He is love and He watches over us in that love. If you want to read about learning to accept and live in the love of God as Father, pick up Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning; it will change your life. ↩
4. “In Jewish circles it has never been a form of address to the Almighty (John 5:18)…It was Jesus who first applied the term to God, and who gave authority to his disciples to do so (The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9). Paul sees in its use a symbol of the Christian’s adoption as a son of God and his possession of the Spirit.” p.2, New Bible Dictionary. ↩
5. (Romans 8:19-22 ESV) Paul here writes about creation being subjected to futility. This can only be accepted if you also accept that creation was once endowed in all its glory. In the creation story you find because of Adam and Eve’s sin the earth was cursed, sin became an inherent problem to mankind, and creation as a whole was subjected to futility (Genesis 3:14-19). In Christ, we have a promise (a present hope in future fulfillment) of new heavens and a new earth (Revelation 21:1, Isaiah 65:17). There’s something special about humanity coming back into right standing with God; when this happens it changes the way we look at the world, and consequently changes the way the world looks back at us. ↩
6. Paul’s vision in this passage is to see the body of Christ on earth live out in the character of God. ↩
7. Jesus’ life and ministry were characterized not by his teaching, miracles, or other acts. It was determined by his intimate connection with his Heavenly Father (John 5:19-23, John 14:5-14). All Christ did overflowed from his connection with the Father. How much more do we as Christ-followers need to live in that intimate communion with our Heavenly Father? ↩