Pastor Adrian and his wife, Antoinette, had two biological sons and then adopted baby Rosie several years ago. For most of Adrian’s life, he has dealt with nose bleeds—an affliction his sons have inherited. One day, little Rosie ran into the house holding her nose and grinning from ear to ear as she said, “See, Daddy, my nose is bleeding—just like Mark and John!” For Rosie, a nosebleed was another way of identifying with her adopted family.
Identifying with one’s adoptive family can sometimes be a challenge—something the church in Ephesus found to be true. Coming from diverse backgrounds of ethnicity and culture, the Jews and Gentiles in the church often clashed over who was right. Through Jesus Christ, the Gentiles had been adopted into the family of God and were now legitimate heirs of God with full access to an inheritance that had previously been reserved only for the Jews (Ephesians 1:12-13, 3:6). The apostle Paul reminds us that “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5).
Just as a nosebleed gave Rosie another way to identify with her adopted family, there are unique traits that prove believers in Jesus are a part of God’s family. Paul urges us to turn away from the destructive habits of a lifestyle without Christ and challenges us to be imitators of God by living a life of love (vv.22-31, 5:1-18). He also implores us to be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another, and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (4:32, 5:21).
By the power of our loving God who has adopted us, may we reflect His light and life to a world who needs Him (vv.8-9)! —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
Ephesians 1:3-14 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure (v.5).
Read 1 John 3:7-10 for more desired qualities of believers in Jesus.
Are you living as a child of God, bearing fruit that proves you’re adopted into His family? What does it mean for you to identify with members of your adoptive family in Christ?