"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
Colossians 1:18

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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Strength of Adoption

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) How comforting it is that our adoption by God is not simply an empty title or an honorary position – we are not merely called children of God; rather, we have become children of God by His grace.  As the hymn says, “I, thy true son.”
If anyone doubts the strength of adoption, we remember what some have pointed out regarding our Savior’s earthly kingship.  Although both Joseph and Mary were tied directly to the line of David, Jesus would have inherited His claim to the throne from His paternal side, per Jewish custom.  Thus His right of earthly kingship came from Joseph, who was not His father by birth, but by adoption.  If there were no strength behind adoption, then, Christ would have no claim to the throne, and He would not fulfill all the Messianic prophecies, meaning that He could not be our Savior!  The strength of Christ’s earthly adoption is the basis for the strength of our heavenly adoption!
We also see its strength by its longstanding nature.  Our adoption was in the Lord’s plans before time began (Eph. 1:5), and it will culminate through to eternal glory (Rom. 8:23)!  This is no casual undertaking by the Father, but carefully calculated and painstakingly brought about.  We are certain that God is faithful to complete the work that He starts in His people (Phil. 1:6).
Finally, its strength is made obvious when we consider our own hapless natural parentage.  We were formerly sons and daughters of Satan (John 8:44, 1 John 3:8) , to be classified as “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) and “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).  This is an evil, self-destructive, despondent sort of lineage; children from this family possess absolutely no qualities that might charm a holy Judge to spare them.  In spite of this, however, that very Judge has made Himself to be the heavenly and eternal Father of a great multitude adopted out of this natural family.
Our response to our own adoption should reflect an intimate awareness of its strength.  For instance, we know that the Holy Spirit brings a powerful testimony to those adopted by God that they are indeed His children (Rom. 8:16).  This certainty is what allows us and strengthens us to hold to the Lord and to get on with His kingdom work, in spite of seemingly overwhelming adversity.
Along these lines, Paul proclaims that our adoption by God should generate a ruthless attitude toward personal sin (Rom. 8:12-17).  Gone is the spirit of slavery within us, and in its place, the spirit of adoption powerfully directs us away from fear and toward Spirit-led living!  We thus cling with a divinely-imparted tenacity to our newfound Father through earthly temptation until our labors give way to the triumphant glory of eternity.


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