This week we’ve seen the reintroduction of ‘knights’ and dames’ into the Australian honour system. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “This special recognition may be extended to Australians of ‘extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit’ in their service to Australia or to humanity at large.”
Whatever you think about this decision there is something good and right about recognising people’s achievements. What if were given a status and so a new identity by the King of Kings? What if were given this because of His love and not our human achievement? In Galatians 4:1-7 Paul says that all those are have faith in Christ are ‘sons.’ He says this means they have ‘the full rights of sons.’ They are ‘heirs.’ They have been adopted as God’s children and so have all the rights of being part of God’s family.
Here’s some of what J.I Packer says about adoption in ‘Knowing God.’
“What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God for his Father. But cannot this idea be said of every man, Christian or not? Emphatically no! The idea that all mean are children of God is not found in the Bible anywhere…Sonship to God, then, is a gift of grace. It is not a natural, but adoptive sonship: and so the New Testament explicitly pictures it…You sum up the whole New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.”
“Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption…The revelation to the believer that God is his Father is in a sense the climax of the Bible, just as it was a final step in the revelatory process which the Bible record.”
God has not left us to guess what His fatherhood amounts to, by drawing analogies from human fatherhood. He revealed the full meaning of his relationship once and for all through our Lord Jesus Christ, His own incarnate Son. As it is from God that ‘all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly. derives its name’ (Ephesians 3:14), so it is from His manifested activity as ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1:3) that we learn, in this one instance which is also a universal standard, what God’s fatherly relation to us who are Christ’s really means. For God intends the lives of believers to be a reflection and reproduction of Jesus’ own fellowship with Himself.” pp. 181-183