I have a son.
I did not father him, nor did my wife give birth to him. Yet, he is my son.
My son is as much my child as any of my other children though he shares none of my genetic makeup.
So if I did not father him, what makes him my son?
For me, it was two things: Choice, and love.
I chose to include him. I chose to offer him a position in our family. I chose to open our home, and lives, to a broken little boy who needed a family who could care for him. Any person who enters into adoption or fostering for the right reasons does this; you consciously choose to give to another person something that wasn't rightfully theirs, a place in your family.
I love him. I genuinely love my son. Not the sort of love that you love a distant relative with or even a close family friend with. But real blood-and-bone, flesh of my flesh, type of love. I barely could have thought it possible. That I could look at a child that came into being utterly apart from me, and love them like they were part of my own body. I will rarely use the word 'really', but I really, really love my son.
The Bible has a lot to say on this subject. And while I love to speak about my son, this isn't really about him, or me for that matter, this is about God.
You see, I had always appreciated those passages like Galatians 4:4-7 or Romans 8:12-17, but I had never truly grasped them until I chose and loved a son who wasn't my own.
I have no right to call myself a child of God. But my Father chose me! My Father included me! My Father opened his home to me! My Father welcomed me! My Father gave me a position of co-heir with his rightful and beloved Son! I have been grafted in. I am a child of God.
I have no right to call myself a child of God. But my Father loves me! My Father sings over me! My Father rejoices over me! My Father guards me as a treasured possession! My Father points to me as an eternal display of his love, a living trophy of his grace! I am loved. I am a child of God.
And I can't take one scrap of credit for this miracle.
God did this through his own Son, Jesus. This is all about God. This is all about the gospel.
Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)
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.
Just as my son will grow up in a family he wasn't born into, I am growing up in a family I wasn't born into. No longer a slave, instead, a son - with all the benefits of being a child of a king.
For this, I am eternally grateful, and will eternally cry out, "Abba! Father!"
I am a son.