When we give our hearts to God we are adopted as His children and are automatically a part of His family. Romans 8:13-17 says, "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 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 son ship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now, if indeed we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
In Roman culture, the adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate child in his new family. Roman law guaranteed the adopted child all legal rights to his father's property even if he was formerly a slave. We were once slaves to sin but once we gave our heart to Christ we were adopted into His family and now share in His inheritance. We become "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (vs.17a). Even though we were once slaves, God has adopted us as His children and made us heirs with Christ that "if we share in His sufferings we may also share in His glory" (vs. 17b). But how do we show that we are a part of God's family? How does anyone recognise us as one of His children? Romans 8:14 says "those led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" If we are led by our own ambitions, thoughts, and desires we are children of the devil.
John 8:38-42 says, "I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father. 'Abraham is our father,' they answered. 'If you were Abraham's children,' said Jesus, 'then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.' 'We are not illegitimate children,' they protested. 'The only Father we have is God himself.' Jesus said to them. 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.'" The religious leaders in Jesus day were hereditary children of Abraham and therefore claimed to be children of God. But their actions showed them to be true children of satan. True children of Abraham would not act as they did.
Our church membership and family connections do not make us true children of God. Our true father is the one we imitate and obey. As members of God's family we are to love and obey God allowing His spirit to work through us. When we serve in the church it should not be out of selfish ambition but out of our love for God. We are to treat each member of our church family equally and with love the way God does and welcome in new members with joy and acceptance, building them up in the faith. There is no seniority in a family. We are not more special because of our family ties, length of service, or the positions we hold. Let's show that we are true children of God by loving, obeying and imitating Him and by working together with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that He may be glorified.