In the context of God adopting us as His sons, there are many blessings that are ours as members of the household of God. We gain our identity and place of belonging through our “sonship.” The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and this as well is tied in with adoption. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father’” (Galatians 4:6)!
Believers also have the benefit of being disciplined by their Heavenly Father. This is not a downside of being a Christian—it is a blessing. We are currently not who we will be and there is indwelling sin that needs to be dealt with. So the Lord disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Another great blessing that is ours as children of God is our inheritance in Christ. In everyday life, not every child receives an inheritance. In Paul’s day, only sons received an inheritance from their father. Today, children may not receive anything from their parents because there may be nothing to pass on or because the parents are fickle, playing favorites by excluding one or two of the children. Or the parents may decide to give everything to THE CAT! However, this is not the case in the family of God. Every child, male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile (see Galatians 3:26-29) receives a full portion of the bequest. Paul very plainly describes it this way: “if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”
What is the nature of our inheritance in Christ? We only have a partial picture and we can’t possibly comprehend all that awaits us. We are told in 1Corinthians 2:9, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…” However, there are some details given in Scripture. Here is a snapshot of this great reward (not in any particular order):
1. Our inheritance is beyond comparison far outweighing our suffering here on earth (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17).
2. It involves final victory over sin and a glorified, incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:42-49).
3. We will reign with Christ and be given responsibility over greater things (Matthew 25:21; Revelation 20:4).
4. We will experience true rest from our labor and struggle against sin (Hebrews 4:9-11).
5. We will receive relief and vindication for the wrong done to us because of bearing the name of Christ (Romans 8:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
6. We will enter into our Father’s joy as He dwells with us forever (Revelation 21:1-7).
7. Our inheritance never fades, never wears out, never can be taken away (Luke 12:33).
All of this provides us with the hope and comfort that we need while wait for the culmination of everything the Lord has promised to accomplish. Our guaranteed inheritance, however, is not intended to put us on easy street. There is still a struggle against our flesh. We also have the world and the devil opposing us. The suffering which accompanies our salvation (Philippians 1:29) demonstrates that we are His children and since we are His, we will suffer with Christ and also be glorified with Him— “…and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Our inheritance is also a purifying hope. Because of what has taken place in the life of the child of God, he is no longer content to remain as he was when Christ rescued him. God is at work changing the believer’s desires and attitudes. Adoption places the believer into the right relationship with God that will accomplish this great change within him … even bringing him into agreement with it—creating a longing to be transformed. The apostle John sums it up so well by writing:
“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 3:1-3).