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The Gospel, Identity, and Adoption

by Dan Cruver Published Dec 4, 2008

I have lived long enough to learn from experience that if I am not functionally finding my identity in who I am as God’s beloved son, as a co-inheritor with my elder brother Jesus, something else will step in to be my functional identity. If the good news of my adoption as a son through Jesus Christ is not what functionally defines me, by default I will seek to be defined by something that was never meant to define me.

As Christians we were not redeemed to be defined, functionally or otherwise, by human approval, vocational success and influence, sexual fulfillment, money, or any other good yet created thing. No, we were redeemed to be defined by who we are in Jesus, namely, God’s sons, co-inheritors with Jesus. This is our objective identity, but—and this is what we must not forget—it must also function as such subjectively.

Here’s the beauty of the gospel: not only does it define us objectively by declaring that we are God’s sons through adoption, it is also makes our God-given objective identity increasingly functional in our lives. The gospel is the power of God to free us from being defined functionally by things that are not God.

Feeding daily on the good news of our adoption as God’s sons is how we experience more and more freedom from the tyranny of being defined by human approval, vocational success, or any other good but finite thing. Enjoy the feast today.


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