by Kathy Collard Miller
Did you know that in the Roman culture when Paul wrote his letters, a Roman father could disinherit a son born into the family but an adopted child could not be disinherited? The idea was a father had no choice as to what he received when a baby was born naturally into the family. If the child grew up and disgraced the family, the father could justify disinheriting him by saying, “I didn’t know he had all these flaws, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen him.”
But an adopted child was chosen specifically with full knowledge of his strengths, weaknesses, appearance, and anything else a family considered important. Therefore, a father could not justify disinheriting him. A father could never say, “I didn’t know what I was getting.”
This fact refers to a significant meaning for Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesians: “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (1:5 ESV).
Paul’s wording didn’t just say we are sons (or daughters). He included the fact we are adopted. Paul fully knew the Roman culture—he was Jewish yet had Roman citizenship. His readers knew the significance of not only becoming a son but an adopted son—a position which could not be taken away regardless of performance or flaws.
I hope this speaks to you as much as it speaks to me. God wants us to know we cannot be disinherited—we cannot lose our salvation! He chose us fully knowing we would not be perfect. But he also wants us to desire to please him out of gratitude for the great salvation he has given us. As we live in that assurance, we’ll give glory to God.
When you read through Ephesians 1, it’s striking how often God’s glory is mentioned. You’ll find it in:
- 6: his grace brings him glory
vs. 12: we are to the praise of his glory
vs. 14: the gift of the Holy Spirit brings praise to his glory
vs. 17: God is the Father of glory
vs. 18: we can know the riches of his glory revealed in our inheritance.
What glorious connections to our inheritance.
If you are a Christian, you are secure. You may not always “feel” it, but you are regardless of your feelings. Because you are chosen and adopted.
…God sent forth His Son…so that we might receive the adoptions as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:4-6 NASB
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about helping women know their inheritance in Christ. She has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries including China and Indonesia. Her 53 books include Christian Living titles and the Daughters of the King Bible study series. Connect with her at KathyCollardMiller.com
Join the conversation: What does your adoption into God’s family mean to you?