Living as a Child of God and Joint-Heir with Christ
This post is Chapter 4 from my book Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation. It’s the first book in a series meant to help the Church to carry the baton passed on to us by Jesus and run the race His apostles did. This book is about what it really means to be saved, and how there is great joy found in living as a child of God!
In this post there will also be excerpts from the accompanying workbook which has thought-provoking questions, journaling prompts, and action steps that will help you apply the truths from the book. The workbook is available either as a free downloadable and printable PDF, or as a perfect bound print edition.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV
THE ABOVE PASSAGE SHOWS that before we gave our lives to Jesus, we were dead in our sin, led by our lusts and worldly desires, and children of disobedience and wrath. I can attest that this is an accurate description of my life before Christ. But even those who don’t remember a Sunday morning or Wednesday night outside of church, who think they don’t have a flashy testimony, were still at one time “sons of disobedience” (see also Colossians 3:6-11 NKJV).
Being raised with Christian moral values, learning about God and believing in Him, hearing sermons, reading the Bible, and having some sort of prayer life, are invaluable. But if we haven’t truly been born of the Spirit, we continue to be children of wrath. Think of the Pharisees, they did all these religious things, but Jesus called them sons of the devil (John 8:41-47). Why? Because they did not recognize what God was doing right in front of their eyes. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, and the Pharisees wanted to kill him. They had a form of godliness, but it did not emanate from the One they supposedly worshiped.
This reveals that even though the Pharisees had all the religious systems appearing perfect to keep them in good standing with God, the vast majority of them had no relationship with the living God. And I hate to break it to you, but this is where many Christians stand as well. We need to recognize if we are playing religion, or if we have been brought into the family.
We can be sure of our salvation, but the enemy does not want us to be. My goal in talking about children of wrath, and really being born again of the Spirit, is not to make anyone doubt their salvation. Just to recognize the state of “Christianity” and help people see if they are in religion based on knowledge, instead of relationship as God’s child. When we are in religion it can be a strong deception because it seems like everything is right, but God will help us to humble ourselves and evaluate where things really stand. It is very freeing to lay it at Jesus’s feet and receive from Him. Ask God now, if needed make things right, and write down anything He shows you.Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
But God Adopted Us
So then, beloved ones, the flesh has no claims on us at all, and we have no further obligation to live in obedience to it. For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste His abundant life. The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as He rises up within us, our spirits join Him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”Romans 8:12-15 TPT
Adopted by God. This is your standing when you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, and truly been born again. He has placed His life-giving Spirit in you, and this is meant to bring you back into the nature humanity was never meant to leave. It is to be like God—as His child.
Anyone who has adopted a child knows it’s not an easy process. It is long, hard, costly, and full of ups and downs. Though worth it, the parents are often required a hefty financial investment, and a laying down of part of their lives. Unfortunately, many adopted children continue to carry with them all sorts of baggage from the life they had before. Often they don’t feel the love and investment that their new parents have poured out. They still feel the wounds of their old life. And they act on this.
We do this in our Christian walk in similar ways. Even as we are told the good news of our adoption, the enemy whispers that we are still orphans. We’ve been brought into a kingdom, and exchanged filthy rags for robes of righteousness. But if we never learn how to act in this kingdom, we will continue to act like thieves and beggars. We have been given a signet ring that says we are a child of the King. There’s incomprehensible power behind that ring. But we continue to act like sons of the devil and children of wrath.
Write to God about your thankfulness for Him adopting you and how you are going to live as His child.Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
Joint-Heirs with Christ
This signet ring your Heavenly Father places on your finger is the same ring Jesus has. Yet many pastors continue to drone doctrines of unworthiness and depravity, as if you are a second-class child, or more like a worm. The enemy is happy to side with this false religion to convince you that transformation can only happen when you die.
That old father of lies—Satan—will do anything to keep us from feeling our true Heavenly Father’s love. And so we are somehow sure God grudgingly did what was needed to save us. Not because He thought we were worthy of His Son’s life, but because He didn’t have a choice, and now He’s stuck with us.
If we believe these lies, we become the “child” that acts like the unloved servant or slave of the household, even as God made us joint-heirs with Jesus. Even despite the fact that He proved His great love by giving Christ to die for our redemption (John 3:16, Romans 8:17-19, 28-32).
Are there any ways the enemy has convinced you to live like an unloved servant of God, instead of as a joint-heir with Jesus?Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
Do you know what this means? Everything the first-born Son, Jesus, has as an inheritance, is also given to you. Though you did nothing to deserve it, the Father raised you up and seated you with Christ in Heavenly places, at His righteous right hand. You probably would feel awkward sitting on a throne next to Almighty God, Creator of everything, the Beginning and the End. But He places you there, and says, “Rule with me.”
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.Revelation 1:5b-6 NKJV (see also Rev. 4:21 and Eph. 2:6 again from the start of this chapter)
It may seem counterintuitive, but it is humility to submit yourself to the truth of God’s Word, even when it seems too lofty to be true. It’s actually a false-humility and pride to say you won’t believe passages like these in the Bible. Ask God to help you believe that He has made you a king and a priest, and write down anything He reveals.Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
Child of God
Knowing this and the fact that God originally created humanity in His image (Genesis 1:27-28 and Psalm 8:3-6), it’s inexcusable to live like anything but a child of God. And when we really grasp this, we will have such joy. In the light of our good God calling us His own, the shadow of what we once were—and all the depravity, fear, and sorrow—has to go.
Look at the Son of God and the way He acted. You will see a man who was unafraid of the world, the religious “leaders,” and the system. He is closer than a brother, has compassion on the weakest, points out the faith of the worldly, and recognizes the generosity of the poorest. He walked on water, through walls, and escaped amid angry mobs. He was a wild man of faith in the desert, a preacher to thousands, and a miracle worker. And one day He will ride down through the clouds on a white horse, with flames in His eyes, bearing the name Faithful and True.
Jesus is beautiful. And you are called to be like Him.
Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
- What do you feel as you think about being like Jesus? Joy? Responsibility? Anything else?
- Jesus is absolutely amazing and captivating. Write to Him how wonderful you think He is and how you want to be like Him.
Father God, thank You for adopting me away from the father of lies. I am no longer a child of disobedience and headed towards wrath. You have called me Your very own, placed Your Spirit within me, and gave me the same inheritance of Your only begotten Son. Please heal my heart and my mind of all the old baggage of my previous life. I want to be like Jesus. I want to hold His desires, His thoughts, His feelings, His ways. Please empower me and teach me how to live as a child of God and joint-heir with Christ.
Excerpt from Fullness of Joy that Only Comes with Salvation Workbook
- Take note of the lingering ways of living that look like your old life. Talk with Father God about why these remain and what needs to change for you to live the life He created you to live.
- As you are reading the Bible, look at the character of Christ. How does He act? What does He say? What does He feel? Ask God for a deep revelation about Jesus’s confidence as the Son of God, and how you can live like Him.
- Start to take steps toward being like Jesus. We’ll discuss this more in the next chapter.