Before anything was made the Father decided to adopt us into his family in Christ. We only know of this eternal decision because God himself makes it actual through his Son acting for us and his Spirit acting in us. We now know that we are adopted children sharing in the Son’s relationship with his Father in the Spirit. That means justification as a legal settlement is not front and centre in our view of salvation. What is? Reconciliation to love relationship as sons and daughters in Christ.
We are now called to live in the freedom of the Spirit as the Father’s dearly loved children in union with Christ. For freedom Christ has set us free and his Spirit wants to take us into freedom so that we live for our Father with joyful assurance. But how easily we slip into legalistic conformity to religious rules continually driven by guilt and shame before a mean and menacing Judge.
Our Father decided before anything existed to include us in the circle of love with his Son and by his Spirit. He decided that we should share in this life with freedom and joy. And he decided to make all this actual in his Son and Spirit. With our eyes fixed on the Father’s astonishing decision to include us in the circle of shared life and love we must now decide to live in this freedom bringing joy to our Father’s heart.