As Christians, most of us are probably familiar with 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV).
This scripture assures us that, in God, we are remade, and our identity is now found in Him; however, in spite of this affirmation, many of us struggle to really embrace the truth and walk in it daily. We can become stuck in the old “sinner saved by grace” mode and not realize that, in Christ, we have so much more—grace for grace.
Consider these words: “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1:16; NIV). We have been given grace to receive even more grace. Our God is a God of abundance.
Paul taught that when we walk according to the Holy Spirit, we become sons of God:
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:14, 15; NKJV)
Abba is the Hebrew word for “Papa.” More than a legal relationship, the word connotes an emotional and spiritual bond. What would it look like for us to truly embrace this kind of relationship with God?
A few years ago, I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Jerusalem where a group of orthodox Jewish men were also mingling. They were dressed in the traditional garb of black suits, white shirts, and black hats.
A small boy of 3 or 4, dressed similarly, was with them. Suddenly he broke from the group, running toward a young man who had just come through the door. He called, “Abba, Abba, Abba,” as he threw himself into the arms of his father. His abba picked him up, held him close, and kissed him all over his face, while the little one giggled with delight.
That is the Abba relationship that God wants with each of us—full of security and delight.
Paul goes on to write, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:16, 17; NKJV).
He is affirming a common thread in Scripture, one that even King David wrote about so many years before Jesus came to earth—we have a good inheritance and can be confidently secure in our place as children of God (see Psalm 16:5-6).
As a new creation, I am a child of God, and I have a good inheritance in Him.
A significant part of that inheritance is manifested in the fruit of the Spirit made available to us: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (see Galatians 5:22, 23).
Love is mentioned first in the list because it is foundational to every other gift. Praise God—His love is always present in our lives!
I have often said that if we learn only one hymn, it should be “Jesus Loves Me.” As a child, I often sang that song for comfort when things were difficult in my life. I sang it as a lullaby to my children and my grandchildren. I have seen tears of tenderness in the eyes of the elderly as we sang it in nursing homes. Seasoned cowboys and recovering addicts have wept as they allowed its truth to flow through their spirits.
When we embrace the truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, when we abide in an Abba relationship with our God, when we know that we are loved unconditionally by the One who is love, we can confidently walk in our identity in Him—regardless of the circumstances in our lives.
We will embrace our newness. We will no longer see ourselves as just sinners saved by grace, but through that grace, we will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are now children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
Our identity in Him enables us to accentuate the positive in our lives. We live in the knowledge that He has plans for us that include a future and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11). Beyond that, we can be aware that our inheritance from Him includes not only eternity with our God, but also provision to walk victoriously throughout our time on earth.
Hold on to these precious words and let them sink deep into your spirit, transforming the way you live each day:
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39; NKJV)