I thought that this was a great section of a book I am reading for class. When we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are adopted as a son or daughter. There is so much more than the Gospel getting you out of going to Hell.
We are no longer orphans, fugitives, or hired servants. One of the first, and most fundamental, questions of life is “Who am I?” If I am an orphan, that means I have no one to protect me, to be an advocate for me, to provide for me, to treasure me or delight in me, to bless me or walk with me on the journey. No one knows who I am or cares. I am nameless, rootless, of no value—a castaway.
If I am a fugitive, I am guilty and on the run, trying to not get caught. No place is safe for me; I cannot rest anywhere. I cannot be a part of or contribute to anything stable or long-term since I might be found out. I have to hide my identity lest I be turned in. If I am caught, it is all over.
If I am a hired servant, there are conditions that I must fulfill in order to be cared for. I must do what is required, or I will not be fed. I must not make mistakes, or my “contract” may be in jeopardy and I may get tossed out. If I perform beyond expectations, I may get a bonus, and if I do not perform as well as expected, I may take a cut in pay and benefits. All that I receive, I must earn.
The Bible tells us that by faith we are beloved children of God—not any old children but the children of a King who rules over all. What is life like for the child of a king? Everyone knows that the son or daughter of a king is very special. The whole kingdom rejoices over the birth of a prince or a princess. This child has access to everything in the king’s castle. This child is the delight of the king, and he or she will inherit not only all the king’s material goods but also his authority to rule. There is no doubt about his or her identity, and home is the safest place on earth. And the prince or princess does not have to earn his or her keep. By birthright, everything belongs to the child of a king.
The way we live reveals our deepest answer to the question of identity—as orphans, fugitives, hired servants, sons, or daughters. It reveals the way we have answered the great “identity” question. What do our lives say? If we live as orphans, fugitives, and hired servants, we do not know much about the restorative grace of Jesus. If we live as sons or daughters, the delight of the King’s life, we have opened our hands and hearts to receive the grace that Jesus so doggedly continues to offer us.
Grace sets us free to live out the image of God placed within us. God makes it very clear that we are created in His image. That means when others look at us they are supposed to see a reflection of God—His character, His love, His very being. It is not the case that some of us have this image and others do not. What matters is the extent to which, and the direction in which, we live it out. That is determined by the degree to which we experience the freedom given to us through the grace of Jesus.
At the time of the fall, Adam and Eve did not lose the image of God; what they lost was the freedom and ability to live it out the way God intended. When the Bible says Jesus came to restore that which was lost, it does not mean to merely save lost people. It means to renew and to empower people to live out what God created them to be.
Apart from faith in Christ, we are limited to what we can muster out of our own gifts and determination. We are truly bound to the old self, the flesh. That is all we have from which to produce our efforts. Receiving the grace of Jesus in faith means we are no longer bound to those limits. We are now free to be what God created us to be and are empowered to do so through the living presence of the Holy Spirit.
We can again explore in awe and wonder the rest of creation. We can also rule over it (exercise dominion) with care and sensitivity and gratitude. We can love one another in trust and without fear. We can succeed or fail and all the while know that God has only good in mind for us. We can risk, we can invest, we can sacrifice, and we can live in reckless abandon and utter confidence, for we know that God is our all in all.
This is from the book, Teaching Redemptively: Bringing Grace and Truth into Your Classroom by Donovan Graham. The book was published by Purposeful Design Publications