Big Words of the Christian Life: Adoption (Part 1)

January 29, 2010 at 10:48 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 17 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Adoption, in the common every-day sense of the legal adoption of a child, involves three entities: a parent, a child, and a family. So does Biblical Adoption. However, the Biblical doctrine of Adoption demolishes some of our false applications of earthly practices to Heavenly realities.

Supposedly, when Charles Spurgeon, who held different views about God’s sovereignty in relation to man’s will from John Wesley, was asked if he expected to see Mr. Wesley in Heaven one day, Mr. Spurgeon replied, “No.” The questioner was somewhat taken aback, until Mr. Spurgeon elaborated further: “I don’t expect to see him in Heaven because he will be so near the throne of God, and I will be way in the back.” This was undoubtedly a tongue-in-cheek remark, and an example of Mr. Spurgeon’s good-natured self-deprecatory humor, but the fact remains: Many people do believe that, in Heaven, there may be people standing closer to the throne of God than others. This type of theory seems to fit in with the idea of rewards given to believers at the Bema seat of Christ, but, in one sense, it is a very worldly concept.

It is true that some believers are more mature than other believers (Hebrews 5:12-14). However, no believers have greater family rights than other believers. All believers have an “adult” standing in the family of God. That is the meaning of Biblical adoption: It is the act of God by which He grants believers an adult standing in His family. We get into God’s family by “birth” (regeneration, the second birth). But we are given our standing (not our righteousness) by God through His act of adopting us. In other words, regeneration is how you get into God’s family. Justification is God’s declaration that you are right before Him in Jesus Christ. Adoption is how you experience your status as God’s child.

Your experience includes privileges and responsibilities. You are treated as an adult child, and God expects you to act like an adult child. The term “child” can refer to age or to relationship. Therefore, there are “adult children” (which sounds like an oxymoron, but is not in this case).

Adoption, like justification, happens instantaneously. I want to use an acrostic to help study some key blessings under the doctrine of Biblical adoption. With each of these blessings we receive both a privilege and a responsibility.

A.ssurance
D.
O.
P.
T.
S.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:16

Immediately upon being saved, through the act of adoption, we have knowledge of our own standing.

Privilege: Adults, unlike babies, know and understand who their parents are. They understand what it means to be in a family.

Responsibility: To learn more and more about God.

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.
P.
T.
S.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:14

Babies cannot “follow” because they cannot walk. They have to be “carried.” Adults can walk. They can follow willingly. When my children were just learning to walk they would pull themselves to their feet and hold onto the edge of a piece of furniture. The reason they would let go of the furniture and take a few staggering, tentative steps to their dad was not because they wanted the independence of being able to move around freely on their own. The reason that they did it was because they wanted their father more than they wanted the security of the piece of furniture they were using to hold themselves up.

Privilege: We are able to walk in obedience.

Lost people cannot do this.

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:2

Responsibility: Being given the freedom to follow willingly, we must not walk after the flesh.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:4

Next time, we will fill in some more of the acrostic:

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.
P.
T.
S.

Advertisements

17 Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. […] Adoption is not how you get into God’s family. It is how you enjoy your place in God’s family: God gives you the “standing” of an adult child. […]

  2. […] in your consciousness, in who you are on the inside – that allows your justification and your adoption and your sanctification. We speak of a dead person as being buried, but really we only bury a body. […]

  3. […] *Adoption: the act of God by which He grants believers an adult standing in His family […]

  4. […] Christians are children of God – both by regeneration and adoption. But that by no means can be rightfully taken to mean, that we “deserve” good gifts or […]

  5. […] without God empowering that faith. God gets all the glory for regeneration, justification, adoption, redemption, sanctification, and everything else that goes along with salvation. But I am not aware […]

  6. […] to Romans 8:31-39, as believers, we do not have to worry about God disowning us. We need to be focused on serving God as our King and Lord, but there is also a sense in which […]

  7. […] Adoption. Adoption is the act of God by which He grants believers an adult standing in His family. Last time we looked at assurance and direction. Now we turn to […]

  8. […] to win Christ’s approval (while still knowing the security of our justification and sonship) will often require us to forsake the approval of the world. We are not to care what they think if […]

  9. […] from Christ, we have no part with God. We are utterly alienated – not related by birth or adoption. But in Christ, we have a part with God – and not a distant, academic part – we are His […]

  10. […] Ours is a paradoxical freedom of dependence (upon God), rather than independence. He’s the Master with free servants. He’s the Father who makes His servants His children. […]

  11. […] will envy “great” saints who have better “stuff” than us. In other words, there will be no “exclusive” communities in Heaven. However, because it is a place that Jesus is “preparing” (and has been for over 2000 […]

  12. […] but by me.” No one will be acceptable to God apart from Jesus. No one could be forgiven, adopted by, justified by, allowed in the presence of, or even allowed to live before God – except for […]

  13. […] Biblical rest comes with inner peace. It is the comforting peace of God that goes beyond even knowing that our sins are forgiven. God could have saved us and locked us away in a dark place other than hell. He could have made us servants like the angels. But instead, God has given us His presence, so we do not have to wait to get to Heaven to experience the peaceful soul-calming rest of knowing God. You can abide in His presence right now – by faith. You are not a slave to sin – and you are not a slave to any laws or rules – if you are in Christ Jesus. You are a child of the Father. […]

  14. […] been brought into His family by both “birth” (the second birth of regeneration) and adoption. We willingly and lovingly minister to “strangers” (those who seem alien to us in our […]

  15. […] The Lord Jesus bore our sin to the Cross, but it is not the weight of that sin that crushed (“bruised”) Him; it was the weight of God’s wrath. Jesus was childless in the biological sense, and, furthermore, the prophecy describes a dead man “seeing his seed.” How could this be? It was fulfilled in Jesus’s Resurrection and the spiritual children He would regenerate and adopt. […]

  16. […] born or by being adopted. You get into God’s family by being born again (regeneration). He also adopts born-again believers into His family (grants them status of adult children). This is very important […]

  17. […] you have been regenerated, justified, and adopted by the Lord Jesus Christ, then you do not have to wonder at, work for, or wait upon God’s […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: