Last week in Training Wednesdays we looked at an often neglected but hugely important category for thinking about sanctification and the connection between the gospel and godliness – adoption.
“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 as Father.
You sum up the whole of 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 of 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. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.
…the entire Christian life has to be understood in terms of it. Sonship must be the controlling thought – the normative category, if you like – at every point.
For this is the Christian’s secret of – a happy life? – yes, certainly, but we have something both higher and profounder to say. This is the Christian’s secret of a Christian life, and of a God-honouring life: and these are the aspects… that really matter. May this secret become fully yours, and fully mine.”
[J. I. Packer, Knowing God, chp. 19: ‘Sons of God’]