Matthew Hosier
'Who Am I?' Study Notes 2

From Orphans to Sons & Daughters

That followers of Jesus get to know God as Father is one of the great privileges of our faith. Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father” and it is because we know the Son that we come to know the Father. But even before this full revelation of who God is, God made himself known as the one who cares for the orphan. Again and again in the Old Testament God’s people are reminded of their special responsibility towards orphans: God wants us to be in family!

We might not be actual orphans, without a mum or a dad, but many of us can have an ‘orphan spirit’. Those with an orphan spirit rely on themselves to meet their needs, rather than trusting other people. They display insecurity, fear and anxiety. They are distrusting of others in order to protect themselves from being hurt or rejected; and when things get difficult they practice survival at all costs, hurting anyone who gets in their way.

The antidote to the orphan spirit is the gospel!

Through the gospel we are restored to God. He identifies Himself as our Father, and we His children. We experience His love and total acceptance. This enables us to live with confidence and grace, and to make ourselves vulnerable before others. We know that we have full rights as Sons in our Father’s house, and that gives us joy!

Scriptures to meditate on:

John 1:12-13 To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 8:15-17 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, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Galatians 3:26 In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

1 John 3:1-3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Case Study: The gospel and the lying heart

If we think like spiritual orphans we will be prone to dishonesty. This is because insecurity and a lack of trust lead our hearts into trying to solve all our own problems, ‘fix’ things, and grab what we can while we can. Honesty looks threatening to an orphan because we are afraid of what it will expose.

The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a revealing example of this (Acts 5:1-11). We don’t know anything about this couples’ background, but we do know they tried to fix things to their own advantage: by claiming to give all the money they had received by selling some property while secretly withholding some of it they thought they could manufacture a win/win – that they would receive the commendation of the apostles, and have some extra cash in the bank. It would have been far better if they had been honest: either by doing what they claimed to do and giving the full amount; or by just keeping the money for themselves without a pretence of giving it away.

When we allow the gospel to work in our hearts we begin to think as Sons, not orphans, and that changes everything:

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

When we understand that because of The Son we are made sons & daughters of our Heavenly Father we are released from having to try and work out everything ourselves. We can trust our Father to provide for us and to do us good, and we won’t make the same kind of mistakes as did Ananias & Sapphira!

Think about how you might increasingly move away from an orphan spirit and towards the confidence that comes from being a son or daughter:

·      Resting secure in your identity as a child of God.

·      Expressing faith like a child – believing and receiving His love and acceptance.

·      Pursuing and enjoying a meaningful relationship with God.

·      Delighting in following His will above your own.

·      Asking your Father to supply all you need.