A detective once told me that money, power, and relationships account for the motive in almost all of the crimes he has encountered. The first two, and possibly a part of the third, can be explained by simple greed. People want to own more worldly stuff or to be able to control more of it. Relationships can be a little more complicated, when mismatched feelings, passions and expectations can generate so many interpersonal misunderstandings, or even crimes.
Those who know only a little of the Bible will often say, quite correctly, that there is much evidence of all these problems within the Scriptures. However, it needs to be pointed out that this evidence relates to human behavior, not God’s. The Bible provides us with a documentary on the topics of human behavior, the character of God, and His plan for us.
Throughout all of time, in His omnipotence and omniscience, God holds more power than we can even imagine. (Dan 2:20-22) Since He created the universe, and all the resources within it, He already has inestimable wealth, and could create more at any time of His choosing. (Ps 33:6-9) Material things are of little consequence to Him. He is, however, very concerned about His relationship with each and every one of us. (1 John 4:10, 1 Tim 2:4 ) Relationships between humans can be fragile and subject to many changes, such as falling in and out of love, arguing with friends and family, or the consequences of moving to live in a different location. In contrast, God’s relationships are steadfast, at least on His side, and remain solid and unchanging throughout time and into eternity. (Rom 8:38-39)
Since we live in a physical world, where all that is spiritual is largely hidden from view, it is not unnatural that human focus would typically be on physical treasures and rewards, rather than on spiritual ones. Everyone likes getting a good deal when acquiring more “stuff.” However, the greatest “deal” of all time has nothing to do with material things, but has everything to do with our spiritual well-being, both present and future. This “deal” is available directly from the Creator of the Universe and the most powerful Person with whom we could ever have a relationship. His Word tells us, on more than one occasion, that He wants to adopt us into His family, as His children. (John 1:12-13, 2 Cor 6:18) In Ephesians 1: 5 Paul writes, “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
Back in Roman times, when Paul was writing this letter to the church in Ephesus, adopting a child had significant consequences. Under the Roman law at that time, an adopted child was fully entitled to inherit a share of the parents’ estate, and furthermore, unlike any parental-born siblings, could not be disinherited for any reason. On this basis, Paul wants us to understand that adoption into God’s family is irrevocable and brings with it a share of God’s inestimable wealth. (Rom 8:16-17)
What do we need to do to qualify for adoption as children of God? Well, we don’t need to do anything. Through God’s grace, this amazing gift is available, free of charge, to each and every member of the human race. We just need to accept His love, openly and honestly, repent of our sins, and recognize Him for who He is, our Lord and Savior. This is not about actions, it is all about how a person thinks and feels about Him. The problem can be that feelings come naturally, and are difficult to manage towards a particular end. However, as C. S. Lewis tells us in Mere Christianity,
The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
If you don’t feel the right way about Him, and truly desire to have a relationship with Him, you can always ask Him, sincerely, for help. (James 1:5-6) Speak it, think it, or perhaps even write it down. He already knows your heart, ask Him to reveal His heart to you. Ask for your very own “deal of a lifetime.” You may be very surprised at the way this works out. (Jer 29:13)
 Dr. John W. Carter, Romans 8:15-27: Adopted by God, Himself, American Journal of Biblical Theology (2016), https://www.biblicaltheology.com/rom/rom_08_15.html, accessed May 10, 2022.
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Touchstone., 1996), pp. 116–17© 2012 C.S. Lewis Institute.
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