Adoption and Union With Christ

“See what kind of love God has given us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).


Some people think the one thing that Christianity has in common with all religions is the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. But neither concept is taught in the Bible. While God is the Creator of all people, He is not the Father of all people.

According to Jesus, we are not children of God by nature; we are children of Satan (John 8:44).

Jesus Christ is the “only begotten” of the Father, which means Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God. God the Father spoke audibly at Christ’s baptism, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).


We are children of God by adoption, which is a fruit of being justified by faith in Christ: to all “who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:10-13). When we are reconciled to God, He brings us into His family. We are given the right to call God “our Father in heaven.” The church is a family with one Father and one Son, and everyone else in the family is adopted. This is why we look to Christ as our elder brother. We have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. The true Son of God makes available all that He received in His inheritance. He shares with His brothers and sisters His full legacy (Romans 8:12-17).


In our adoption as sons, we enjoy spiritual union with Christ. To believe in Christ, literally in the Greek, means to believe into Him. Those with true faith are spiritually “inside” Christ – spiritually united to Him by the bond of the Holy Spirit. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

As members of Christ’s body we are also spiritually united to each other. We are all part of the communion of the saints. There is a unique spiritual fellowship that each Christian enjoys with all other Christians. The bond of this spiritual family is a stronger bond than what we enjoy with our biological family.

[Adapted from R.C. Sproul Everyone’s a Theologian]