It is only after man has been justified, that he can now be adopted into the family of God.
While justification means that man is accepted and cleared of all wrong doing in the Presence of God, the Judge, it now opens the way for man to enter into a status of permanent relationship with God as his Heavenly Father. Justification brings man into the status of sonship by adoption.
In the days of Paul, rich people that were childless looked for young men of good character to adopt in order to maintain the family name. However, the Bible proclaims the gracious adoption of people of bad characters to become "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ." Rom. 8: 17
Justification is the basic blessing upon which adoption is based, as the crowning blessing. Adoption means that God loves the believer the same way that He loves Jesus Christ, and will share with each believer all the glory, beauty, and honour that Jesus Christ has now. Both Jesus Christ and the believer are now sons of the same Father belonging to the same family.
Jesus Christ graciously gives access to this crowning blessing for as many as accept Him as Lord and Saviour. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" John 1:12
For the time being, believers have to go through the Fatherly care and discipline which God meted out to Jesus Christ while He was on the earth. God is treating the believers the same way that He treated Jesus before the Lord entered into glory. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." Heb 12:6-8
This is why there is so much suffering and trials in the lives of Christians even though they are adopted into the family of God.
- Jesus was made perfect by suffering. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb 2:10
- Jesus learnt obedience through suffering. "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;" Hebrews 5:8
If the Lord Jesus was made perfect through suffering and learnt obedience through suffering, why would God deal with His adopted children in a different manner? "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" Heb 12:7
Your trials and tribulations as a Christian are the proof, the evidence, that you are a member of the family of God. Much of the mainstream church teaches believers to reject suffering. Such teaching is not consistent with New Testament doctrines. The Bible commands believers not to engage in misconducts that produce suffering; but to welcome sufferings that come due to their Christian faith.
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." 1 Pet 4:15-16
There is a wonderful joy in knowing that one is a member of the family of God. This means that God has assumed all responsibility of parental concern and given Himself to the eternal care of His family. Earthly parents may lack the power and the means to supply all things for their families, but this is not true of God who owns all and rules all.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:1-3
If you are not yet a member of the family of God, today, if you will repent and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, you can be.