We Can Know God as Our Father

By Curt Kuster

Romans 8:14-17

The prayer Christ gave His disciples as a model for prayer is commonly called the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). It begins by addressing “Our Father.” This indicates that those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior can call and hence know God as “our Father.”

This is validated by the many times in Scripture we are called “sons of God” (e.g. Galatians 3:26, 4:6; 2 Corinthians 6:18), or “children of God” (e.g. John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2). In Romans 8 we are called “sons of God” (v. 14); “sons by which we cry out Abba! Father!” (v. 15); and “children of God” (v. 16).

One key aspect of our salvation is adoption as we see in verse 15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ ” The importance of our adoption is also seen in Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5.

Adoption has been defined as “a legal action whereby a person is taken into a family, usually not related to him. When taken into that family, he is given all the rights and privileges of a member of that family.”

Paul was writing to the Church at Rome, and they were well aware of the Roman system of adoption. Many commentators have noted the description of adoption in Paul’s day. The four main consequences were as follows:

1. The adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father.

2. It followed that he became an heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were born afterwards, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably a co-heir with them.

3. In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out. For instance, all debts were canceled. He was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do.

4. In the eyes of the law he was absolutely the son of his new father.

The comparison of adoption to our salvation is clear.

1. Our allegiance to our former family and former father, the devil, is now canceled (1 John 3:8-10).

2. We gain all the rights as heirs and “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

3. All things from our old life are wiped out. The debt against us was canceled at the cross (Colossians 2:14).

4.We are true sons of God (as seen in the previous passages).

It has been stated that an earthly adoption gives a child a new father, a new name, a new home, a new address, a new history, and a new destiny. The same is true with God’s adoption.

God, as our Father, provides his children with an inheritance (Colossians 3:24). We inherit salvation (Hebrews l:14), and will be “heirs of the kingdom” (James 2:5) where we will rule (Revelation 2:26-27), and reign (2 Timothy 2:12) with Christ—a truly amazing thought!