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  • Shawn Gerbers

Ephesians 1:5-6 - Legal Heirs

You're not just 'sort of' God's child, in Christ you've been fully adopted!

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Read Ephesians 1:3-6

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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 33

Q. Why is he called God’s “only begotten Son”

when we also are God’s children?

A. Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.

We, however, are adopted children of God—

adopted by grace through Christ.



Yesterday, we looked at the divinity of Jesus. Since he is the eternal, natural Son of God, that is why we say he is God’s “only begotten Son” in the Apostles’ Creed. So where does that leave us, since we are also God’s children?

In Ephesians 1, the Apostle Paul states that we are adopted through Jesus Christ. The Greek word for adoption to sonship is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture. Adoption in ancient Roman times was different from how we practice adoption today in North America.

The upper-class citizens of Rome would want a male heir to pass on their wealth, titles, and property to. If they didn't have a male heir, they would adopt one. Then when the boy would grow up, he would become their son in all respects, receiving the inheritance of his adoptive family.

Dig Deeper

When the Apostle Paul says that God predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, he is saying that we are children of God in every sense. We are not God, like Jesus is God, but we are God’s children through adoption. We get all the benefits of being a child of God.

There is no formal legal process that we go through, like filling out adoption papers. Our adoption is through Jesus Christ. When we repent of our sin, and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, we become children of God.

The benefits of being a child of God are amazing. First, we receive forgiveness of our sins. We are cleansed by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Second, we are adopted into the Body of Christ, the Church. We become a part of the family of God. Third, the Holy Spirit is sent daily to renew and cleanse us. We are not left on our own, but have the Holy Spirit with us daily renewing our minds. Finally, we have the promise of the resurrection. When Jesus returns, we will be resurrected to eternal life with God.

That is what it means to be a child of God. We get all those gifts from God through Jesus Christ. While Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, all who call on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior become adopted children of God. We truly become children of God.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Lord, you my true Father, the giver of life and grace;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: May I trust in the power of Jesus Christ, and know that I am your child.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Galatians 5


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