Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

The Blessings and Marks of Adoption

Written by Rev. G.R. Procee
Adoption is the Work of the Triune God
The work of adoption is the work of triune God. The Father predestinates sinners unto the adoption of children (Ephesians 1:5). Therefore, we have to be delivered from the devil, who is our father by nature. ÒYe are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will doÓ (John 8:44). But consider also Psalm 45:10: ÒHearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.Ó We are called to the sonship of God.

When this happens, the miracle takes place that children of wrath, who ought to be condemned, are yet saved and changed into the sons of God. They are brought to salvation, led to holiness and become devoted to God. This glorious plan of God was devised in eternity. Saved sinners are adopted into the family of God.

Adoption takes place through the Son. ÒFor ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ JesusÓ (Galatians 3: 26,27). We find a similar statement in Galatians 4: 4,5: ÒBut when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.Ó In the SonÕs work of salvation we see that adoption is of vital importance.

We must also consider the work of the Holy Spirit In adoption. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). By nature, we have the spirit of the evil one. To be adopted as children of God, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That takes place in regeneration. Then the Holy Spirit enters the heart of a sinner to stay. The Spirit uncovers the soul to sin and death within, but also shows the sinner the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ and reveals His atoning grace.

The Holy Spirit leads the sinner to embrace Jesus. The result is that there is a hearty desire to walk in all godliness. There is a hearty longing to know God more and more. The Spirit leads the soul to be united to Christ, to embrace Christ and to live for Him. The Spirit teaches us to pray ÒAbba FatherÓ and thereby shows us that our adoption is by the Father through Christ.

In this triune work of adoption we see that God the Father elects in order to adopt children for Himself. The Son redeems to bring about the adoption of children and the Spirit leads to the glorious knowledge that we are adopted as children of God.

The Rich Blessings of Adoption
There are various blessings that flow from the adoption of the children of God. We will mention several.

God's children are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means that God is their portion. God Himself is their inheritance. God will be their God for evermore. Just think of Psalm 16:5, ÒThe LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot.Ó Peter speaks of Òan inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for Gods children.Ó

This inheritance is received only in conjunction with Christ. He is their oldest Brother. He has annulled the terrible inheritance of Adam and paid for the guilt of sin and has merited everlasting righteousness. He merited grace and has earned His Spirit for His people. He earned life everlasting and lets all His people share in this glorious inheritance.

To be co-heirs with Christ also means to walk in His footsteps. It also means to suffer with Him. ÒAnd if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified togetherÓ (Romans 8:17).

Another blessing is that they have become fellow citizens of the household of God. "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2: 19). What a miracle that a child of wrath may be engrafted into the household of God!

The Privileges of Adoption
What are the privileges of belonging to the Household of God? There are many.

God cherishes His children with Fatherly love. The Lord takes reasons out of Himself to love them. ÒThe LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn theeÓ (Jeremiah 31:3).

God has His eye set upon them so they will not fall. No evil will befall them. They are under God's special protection (cf. Psalm 121). He, who touches them, touches the very apple of God's eye.

The Lord cares for them in all things for body and soul. He is the heavenly Father who feeds the birds and animals and will certainly feed and take care of His people. "He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

God has compassion and pities them in all their physical needs. At times, it pleases the Lord to lead His people through turmoil and tribulations so that they will be kept humble. As the Lord remembered Noah when he floated in the ark upon the waters of the flood (Genesis 8:1), and as the LordÕs watchful eye observed the oppression of His people in Egypt (Exodus 3:7), in like manner He looks in compassion upon His children in all the trials that oppress them. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).

Since they are children, God hears and answers them as their loving Father. As children they take refuge with their Father in their perplexity and by reason of this relationship they call out to Him, ÒAbba, FatherÓ! In an intimate manner they bring their needs before Him, and with tearful eyes they tell Him what their sorrow is. They cry out, ÒMy Father, the cross is so heavy and so very painful to me; it is of such long duration and I do not see my way through. Thou art able to help me, however, for Thou hast promised it and Thou dost indeed have compassion with me. Therefore, my Father, help, support, and deliver me!Ó

The Lord looks upon His children in love and is pleased with their childlike cries when they seek refuge with Him. He will most certainly answer them and deliver them in His own time and manner.

Because they are GodÕs children, they are free. "Ye have been called unto liberty" (Galatians 5:13). They are free from the power of Satan, who will no more have power or dominion over them as he did prior to their conversion (2 Timothy 2:26). They are free from the dominion of sin. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. But now being made free from sin..." (Romans 6:14, 22). They are free from eternal condemnation. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

The Marks of Sonship
First, adoption is obtained by faith. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26). Brakel writes:

Have you from a sight of your sins, taken refuge to Jesus Christ? Have you taken refuge to Him out of a heartfelt desire to be reconciled to God and to be in this state of sonship; to live in communion with God, in peace of conscience, in love to God, and in fear before Him; to attain to the disposition and exercise of sanctification; to battle continually against sin; to be preserved in your faith; and to enjoy eternal felicity? Have you thus taken refuge to Jesus Christ, knowing Him to be a complete Surety who is fully qualified to save, as One who in His goodness calls and invites you by means of the gospel, as One who offers Himself so that He may communicate this fullness to you, and as One who is true and Almighty?

Secondly, a child of God bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His life is focused on the Lord and in devotion to God he displays the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. A child of God, who at one time was in darkness, has received the light of the Lord. By God's light, poured out in his heart, he knows the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In this light he also sees, to his shame, the sinfulness of his heart. But now his heart has become united to the will of God and it is his delight and desire to do only His will in his thoughts, words, and deeds.

The third mark qualifying one as a child of God consists of love. That is the most important mark of being adopted as children of God. As God loves them with an infinite, eternal, and immutable love, this love also evokes a response of love in the children of God. "We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Such love is a true mark of sonship. "But if any man love God, the same is known of Him" (1 Corinthians 8:3).

God's children also know that they are the children of God by the inward testimony of God's Spirit. You know whether you belong to the family of God by the inward testimony of God's Spirit in your heart. His Spirit testifies with our spirit, saying Ó Abba Father.Ó This takes place when the beauty of Christ is seen and the soul is drawn to Christ so that He is embraced.

Next time we hope to consider the inward testimony of God's Spirit in more depth.

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