Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

The Privileges of Adoption

Written by Rev. G.R. Procee
Worked by the Holy Spirit
It is a profound blessing that the Lord adopts sinners. He translates them from death to life. He turns them away from their own vain walk and bestows His Spirit upon them. They become strangers in the earth and pilgrims on their way to Zion. They are a blessed people.

Last time we saw that the Holy Spirit seals the believers. His own presence in their lives is His divine seal upon their adoption. It is a great privilege that the Holy Spirit dwells in a sinner's heart. The Spirit awakens such childlike trust and submission to the Lord that he cries out: Abba, Father. This produces peace in the soul and rest in the awareness that the Lord is my God and my Saviour. For Christ's sake God has become my Father.

The Holy Spirit in the way of faith works all this. Faith leans upon God's Word and upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit there is assurance that God has become my Father and He will undertake for me. This is all experienced in the way of faith.

The Holy Spirit Leads to the Father
The Canons of Dort 1,12 speak of these matters. There we see that special emphasis is placed on faith in Christ. It is by a true faith worked by the Holy Spirit that I am united to Christ. Faith rests on the shed blood of Christ. Between being a child of wrath and being adopted as God's child, lies the shed blood of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for sin.

We therefore ought to meditate on ChristÕs great sacrifice for sin. The wrath of God slew Him. He was deserted by His God and died on the cursed cross. In this way He merited the adoption for lost sinners to become children of God.

The Holy Spirit leads sinners to the Son, the Son leads to the Father and the Father adopts sinners for JesusÕ sake and considers them His own. In Christ God becomes a loving and caring God for unworthy sinners. He is a good God and the source of all blessings. Because of Christ's payment for sin the privilege is granted to call Him Father, Abba.

It is a rich blessing to use the name of the Father in our personal prayers, for it is a rich and comforting name. God's child should not be afraid to use that name with reverence and adoration. God delights in that name, for He testifies in the hearts of God's children: Abba, Father. Therefore He desires that we should also use that name.

The Word Abba means Father. It actually states twice: Abba, Father. It means dear Father. It is a word full of affection and love. It is the highest and most profound expression of love from God for His people. It is in this expression that God's child also expresses his love for God. God is so worthy to be loved, for He gave His only Son to purchase His people, body and soul.

A Trinitarian Activity
God the Father loved His people with an everlasting love; God the Son paid for His people with the price of His shed blood and the Holy Spirit applies this earned salvation to the heart so that God's child cries out: Abba, Father! This name refers to the triune God and refers especially but not exclusively to the first Person of the trinity. We may, therefore, apply this name to the trinity as a whole. God the Father is my Father for Jesus' sake; God the Son purchased me and is therefore also my Father; God the Holy Spirit regenerated me and is therefore my Father as well.

The triune God is called Father. In Isaiah 9:6 the Lord Jesus is referred to as Father: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." In Isaiah 63 the prophet calls upon God, the covenant and triune God of Israel: "Doubtless thou [art] our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O LORD, [art] our father, our redeemer; thy name [is] from everlasting."

What riches and comfort to call on this Name! When difficulties and afflictions are experienced, there may be the cry: Father! What blessing that the triune God then affirms: "Be still My child" and He presses you to His Father's heart. Knowing that the Lord will provide for you gives great comfort. Then all is well and still. Then a foretaste is received of heavenly joy.

Privileges of Adoption
We can summarize and further elaborate on the privileges of the adoption as a child of God as follows:

1. God has a special love for His children. We may call this the fatherly love of God for His children. He loves them in all their circumstances. In themselves they are hateful and despicable people; yet God loves them. This is a miracle of grace! In spite of their deep fall, God still loves them. Is that not a great comfort for those who so often are thrust to and fro in the struggle of faith? God loves them with and everlasting love!

2. God protects His children. The Lord watches over and keeps His children. He will not let them slip or fall. "The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand" (Psalm 121:5). His children are safe under His protection.

3. God has perfect knowledge of His people. The Lord knows their real needs. He knows them far better than we know ourselves. "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him" (Matthew 6:8). When we confess our needs before the Lord, it is not because He must be informed of them but because we must be more aware of them, so that when the Lord gives deliverance we would realize that this deliverance came from Him indeed. The Lord knows what His people need and gives them what is good for them.

4. God supports and cares for His people. He continually cares for His children. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Matthew 6 describes how wonderful the care of God is for His people.

5. God has compassion and lovingkindness for His people in their tribulations. He saw the oppression of his people in Egypt. "Like as a father pitieth His children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:13). The Lord knows how to deal with His people in the most varied circumstances. He knows their physical and mental pain, their depressions and sorrows. He not only knows about them, but in a surprising way He relieves and delivers them.

6. God listens to their cries. He always listens to them as their loving Father. In their sorrow they flee to Him. There are times when they do not know how to continue. But the Lord kindly encourages them, for instance in Romans 8:32, where we read that "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

In Christ, the Lord gives His people all they need. He hears them in and through His Son. God does not allow His people to become desolate and miserable, but He cares for them. What care and lovingkindness God bestows upon His children! How blessed to be adopted as a child of God!

Obligations and Duties
Being adopted as a child of God does not only entail privileges, but also obligations. There are also duties that are laid upon God's children. The Lord calls them to a life of obedience to Him. If they are adopted as His children, they must also behave as His children. God's Word shows us what obligations God's children have towards their Father:

1. God's child is called to honour God and to fear His Name. That means to respect Him. "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear" (1 Peter 1:17).

2. God's child is called to walk in His ways. There should be a close walk in accordance with His commandments. The love of Christ constrains His people to seek to please the Lord. "How ye ought to walk and to please God, [so] ye would abound more and more" (1 Thessalonians 4:1).

3. God's child must expect all things from God. That means to be fully dependent upon the Lord and to realize that He gives all things necessary for life. The Lord will provide. There has to be a life of dependence upon Him. That constitutes surrender to Him and it means to trust Him in all the cares and sorrows of life.

4. God's child must confess the Lord. It is honouring to the Lord when His people confess His Name. They are called to confess His dealings and His work in saving sinners, in adopting them as His children and providing for all their cares and needs. A child of God, who realizes the rich privileges he has received, will be moved by love to his God and Father. It is his desire to comply with the admonition: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

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