At the heart of Christian life there is a relationship with God as Father. R.A. Finlayson writes about this relationship in his Reformed Theological Writings:
God is Father in a special way to his redeemed people; Christ taught his disciples to address God in this intimate relationship…it is a redemptive relationship, involving justification to put our standing right, adoption to put our relationship right, and regeneration to put our natures right. [Reformed Theological Writings P36]
Many Christian believers overlook one or more of these three aspects of their relationship with their heavenly Father and so their relationship is incomplete. The following Venn diagram shows what happens to the believer when one of the three is missing:
The stunted prodigal daughter
This Christian is at home with her Father, she knows that the sacrifice of Christ has made her right with God but she is not keeping in step with the Spirit (Romans 8:12-13) and so does not put off the old self and put on the new which is being created in the likeness of Christ.
The guilty loving son
This Christian experiences the presence of the Holy Spirit and the love of the Father but forgets the justification of the cross and so is either unlikely to think much of his sin or feels too much of it and so experiences a nagging guilt. But Christ died for all our sin to make us slaves to righteousness (Romans 7:15-18).
The loveless Christian soldier
This Christian knows he is right with God because of the death of Christ and is growing in Christlikeness as the fruits of the Spirit flow out of his love for Christ but he does not know the intimacy of the Father. This Christian must spend some time studying the doctrine of adoption to know that he is now truly God’s loved son and heir (Romans 8:14-17).
For more posts like this see Transforming Grace Venn diagram posts