Jesus is ‘the firstborn over all creation’ (Colossians 1:15), and so all mankind follows after Him. However, the relation does not come by lineage, but by choice- that is why Jesus says, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:24). The relation also does not come from natural birth, as one ought to be ‘born of water and Spirit’ (John 3:5) in order to be counted in. Thus, for anyone to claim Jesus’ ancestry, ‘You must be born again’ (v7). Those wondering why coming to the lineage of Jesus Christ is important, it is because, ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority’ (Colossians 2:9). In other words, we inherit the same power and authority that Jesus Christ has, a power and authority over all things, including death and the devil. Hence, ‘the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers’ (Hebrews 2:11).
Once Jesus becomes our Brother, we share the same authority, power, and right with Him. He even tells His disciples, ‘I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me’ (Luke 22:29). Since Jesus is the image, Word, wisdom, power and glory of God, He tells His disciples, ‘All I have is yours, and all you have is mine’ (John 17:10) because, ‘I and the Father are one’ (10:v30). Jesus welcomes us into a divine union that existed long before our existence. He welcomes us through an unnatural birth. That is why Paul writes, ‘Then he (Jesus) appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born’ (1 Corinthians 15:7-8). When one heeds to the call of Jesus and accepts Him into their lives, they are born a second time. Some, however, may remark like Nicodemus, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ (John 3:4). They fail to understand that we are ‘children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or husband’s will, but born of God’ (1:v13). So, once we are rebirthed through Jesus Christ, we are free to enter into God’s intimate communion as His children. Jesus clarifies, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ (8:v34-36).
It is as if Jesus adopts us as His brothers, so that when God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ- He sees Himself. Because ‘those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption (sonship). And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:14-15). So, when we ‘confess with our mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead’ (10:v9), we are making an appeal to Jesus to adopt us. The appeal is received instantaneously, and Jesus immediately approves because, ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away’ (John 6:37). Hence, from the day we become born again, our position as slaves changes to that of children of God. So, it is ‘thanks to God, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness’ (Romans 6:18). Slaves in the sense that, ‘you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness’ (6:v16). So, through Jesus, we attain righteousness, because we inherit His Spirit, and all there is to Him. And like Him, we become Sons of God. ‘Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ’ (8:v17).
The adoption that occurs between us and Jesus can best be described as a binding. Since we are not naturally born into God’s Kingdom because of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we become engrafted once we accept Jesus. God tells Jeremiah beforehand, ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name which he will be called: The Lord our Righteousness’ (Jeremiah 33:15-16). Jesus is the Branch that would be born naturally via David’s line, but be the first righteous Branch, indicating His Divine origin. Isaiah prophesies the same and says, ‘In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 4:2-3). Jesus is the one described as emerging from ‘a shoot . . . from the stump of Jesse (David’s father); from his roots a Branch (Jesus) will bear fruit (those who believe in Him)’ (11:v1). So, all Believers are grafted into the Branch (Jesus). In other words, ‘you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root’ (Romans 11:17). That is why Jesus beseeches, ‘Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me’ (John 15:4).
Since we have been grafted into Jesus, the Branch, we need to bear fruit, just like we see Him do. Our adoption requires that we always remain in Jesus and not break away from Him, because the evidence of our adoption is that we bear fruit. And the only way to bear fruit is if we remain in the Branch, Jesus. In fact, ‘apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned’ (v6). As long as we maintain our adoption status, we maintain our sonship status. A son is granted access to all the Father has, and that is why Jesus says, ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples’ (v7-8). God in His ‘love predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will’ (Ephesians 1:5). So, all who remain bound to the Branch, Jesus, enjoy full rights as His Children regardless of their background, state, and position. ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). Hence, ‘foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep my Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer’ (Isaiah 56:6-7).
‘But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive full rights as sons’ ~ Galatians 4:4-5
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ’ ~ Ephesians 1:3
‘So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir’ ~ Galatians 4:7
‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having Believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit’ ~ Ephesians 1:13