“ I won’t leave you as orphans.”
A single father was passing away, considering the life events he was set to miss in the lives of his two children. Giving a crumpled 10-pound note to his eldest daughter he said, “Please use this note to buy your brother his first pint at 18”. Six years later the son fulfilled his father’s wish bringing back fond memories of the father. The note fulfilled its purpose and allowed the son to say, “My father bought me my first drink”, despite losing his father and living as an orphan since his passing.
As believers, we receive a promise of fathership from our heavenly Father who seeks out our adoption into His family after sin’s curse separated us from His presence. The Father longs for none to perish apart from Him. John 14:18 says, “I won’t leave you as orphans,” and Psalm 68:5 says He is a, “Father to the fatherless”. The promise of fathership is certified through the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Father has sent to confirm we are His and we have not been left as orphans. Unlike the 10-pound note which had memorial value in remembering the son’s father, the Holy Spirit remains ever-present throughout our life and is a constant assurance of our position as children of our heavenly Father.
Romans 8:15-16 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”. We are no longer slaves to sin but adopted as children of our heavenly Father!
In first-century Rome the customs of parenthood and adoption were as follows:
1. You could choose to disown a child at any point for a variety of reasons.
2. To be adopted you needed to be chosen by the parents.
3. If you were chosen to be adopted you could never be disowned. The adopted child would walk in a new identity, all previous debts were erased and the child would share in an immediate, full inheritance as if they were a biological child.
Incredibly, these are the promises we receive today: we are chosen, adopted, never to be disowned and walking in a new identity with all sinful debts cancelled! We are no longer orphans, but children of God and we should take great confidence that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”. If you are led by the Spirit today, you are receiving and living under the full blessings of the promise of fathership today!
I grew up in a very loving and supportive Christian family with a wonderful mum, dad and younger sister. At the age of about four, I remember one night my parents sitting at my bedside and explaining to me that I had been adopted as a baby.
All I remember is crying...hard! The pain was intense! The very people who I had always known as my parents appeared to be telling me that they weren’t my “real parents”! I don’t think I really understood! I was confused and hurt. All I could do was cry! They told me (multiple times that night...and many times since) that they loved me, that I had been specially chosen for them and that nothing had changed. But for me, looking back, something did change - a horrible feeling of rejection (an “orphan spirit”) had taken root!
In 1999 I listened to a talk by Mary Pytches, entitled “Who am I?: Discovering Your Identity in Christ”. She said that “the view we hold of ourselves can often be so distorted as to impair our lives. For Christian maturity and wholeness, it is important to come to terms with who we really are and then be free to be the person that God intended us to be”.
She quoted from what has since became my favourite psalm, Psalm 139:13-16.
That talk was a massive “light bulb” moment for me! I wept absolutely uncontrollably! God touched my heart in that moment and did something incredibly powerful that night. It felt like His arms were literally around me and all I could sense was Him whispering to me “I’m your Father! I’m your Father!” That was the start of the healing process of, what I now recognise had been, a deep “father wound.” In the margin of my Bible, next to those verses I wrote in capital letters, “I’M NO ACCIDENT”!!! God had created me for a purpose; l wasn’t an “unwanted accident” after all! God had a plan for my life!
When you are “adopted” into a new family, you receive all the legal standing, rights & privileges of a natural born son and heir. In giving my life to God and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, as it says in Romans 8:15-17, God has adopted me into His family, and the best thing is that it comes with all the rights of a son and heir: He’s my Dad!!
What has God said to you through today’s promise?