I recently read a book titled Infinitely More, which is the story of Alex Krutov, a Russian orphan who grew up in the Russian orphanage system. Alex tells the story of moving from orphanage to orphanage, never feeling as though he belonged to anyone. The orphanages did not have names. They were simply identified by number. Once each year he was issued a standard set of clothing. He ate his meals in the dining halls and he slept in dormitory style rooms. His caretakers were responsible enough to keep the children in order, but due to the sheer number of orphans, they did not become emotionally attached to the children. Alex’s circumstances were better than living on the street, but he did not have a meaningful relationship with his caregivers.
I think many Christians today view their relationship with God as one of an orphan who has not been adopted. They have been rescued from the penalty of sin through the justification they received when they came to faith in Christ. But beyond justification, there is no evidence of an intimate, loving relationship with God. They try to conform to Christian standards of conduct by attending church, praying before meals and even becoming involved in Christian service. But there is always a fear of rejection if they don’t live up to the standards. They feel as though God is watching their every move, waiting for them to step out of line so He can put them in their place. They view every negative event or circumstance in their life as God’s punishment for not meeting His standard of conduct. It’s no wonder that so many fall away, feeling as though God has abandoned them. They have never realized the fatherly love that God has for them.
John 1:12 tells us that to all who believe in the name of Jesus, He has given the right to become children of God. We are not merely justified (although, this is a significant act of God’s grace). He has not brought us into an orphanage where we simply become one in a crowd of orphans. Much more than that, we are adopted. He has adopted us as His children, and we have the privilege of calling Him our Father. He invites us to draw near to Him and to approach Him “with freedom and confidence” (Eph 3:12). The love that God has for His children is greater even than the love that we have for our own children.
J.I. Packer, in his book, Knowing God, states, “To those who are Christ’s, the holy God is a loving Father; they belong to his family; they may approach him without fear and always be sure of his fatherly concern and care. This is the heart of the New Testament message.” Take hold of that message and grow in a love relationship with your Father. You have been adopted by God. You are His child!