Study 6 ADOPTION
GREAT WORDS OF THE GOSPEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Romans 8: 1-17)
In Exodus 2:10 (compare Hebrews 11:24), Esther 2:7, and in Luke 15:11-24, we have three illustrations of adoption, and these will help us to answer the question: What does Adoption mean? It means the placing of a son. When we are born again we become children in God’s family (John 1:12-13), and God becomes our loving Heavenly Father (John 6:32). But, we not only become children of God; we become sons of God and legally recognised heirs – look up Romans 8:14-17. Thus, by adoption, God gives us a new status, and this new status, or position, at once brings us into the place of new Privilege and of new Responsibility.
1. THE PRIVILEGES OF THE ADOPTED
According to Ephesians 1:4-5, we, as believers, were adopted in the purpose of God “before the creation of the world.” What are the privileges and blessings which are ours as the result of our adoption?
- We have received His SPIRIT. Look up Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6. Every son of God has already received the Holy Spirit of adoption whereby he comes to God and calls Him “Father”.
- We have been given His NAME. When a child is adopted by earthly parents, and is legally registered as their son, he usually takes the name of the parents. God has brought us into His family and has given us the status of sons and the privilege of bearing His name – look up Ephesians 3:14-15. And what is the Name of names which we bear? compare Acts 11:26; 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16.
- We are being conformed to His IMAGE. Look up Romans 8:29, and notice that when we become sons of God, the Holy Spirit, who enters our heart, begins to conform us, or change us, into the likeness of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). God’s plan is that we should be like Him, and when we see Him we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2).
- We must expect His CHASTENING. Make no mistake about it – this is a blessing, a privilege to be enjoyed by those who are the sons of God! Study Hebrews 12:6-11 carefully. When God’s chastening hand is upon us, we should rejoice, because –
- We may experience His COMFORT. Look up 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and Isaiah 66:13. Notice the wonderful picture our Lord gives us in Matthew 23:37. This changes the metaphor, but it emphasises the same truth, namely, that the Lord protects and comforts us just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings.
- We should enjoy His LIBERTY. In Romans 8:19-23, Paul speaks of the liberty from sin, and all that has resulted from sin, which will one day be experienced by the whole creation, and he likens this to the liberty which every son of God may enjoy. Servants do not have the liberty which sons have – and we are sons! – compare John 15:13-15.
- We are going to share His GLORY. Look up Romans 8:17. We shall sit with Him on His throne and enjoy Him through all eternity!
These, then, are some of the Privileges of the Adopted. But every privilege carries with it a responsibility, as Peter says – 2 Peter 3:11.
2. THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ADOPTED
Let us place the Privileges and the Responsibilities side by side:-
- We have received His Spirit: let us be careful not to grieve Him. Look up Ephesians 4:30, and read verses 17 to 32 and notice some of the things which grieve Him. There is no greater incentive to holy living than the constant reminder that the Holy Spirit dwells within.
- We have been given His Name: let us see that we bring no dishonour upon Him. Look up Acts 9:15 and 2 Timothy 2:19, and in contrast, notice Acts 5:41. Nothing hinders the work of God more than when Christians bring dishonour upon His name.
- We are being conformed to His image: let us be submissive to the hands of the Potter. Look up Jeremiah 18:1-6 and Isaiah 64:8. Sometimes His dealings with us may be painful, and often they will be perplexing but always they are for our good (Romans 8:28).
- We must expect His chastening: let us be exercised by it. Look up Hebrews 12:11, and 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. In every time of testing we should ask, “What new lesson is the Lord seeking to teach me?”
- We may experience His comfort: let us do so, and let us share it with others. Look up 2 Corinthians 1:4. The margin reads “encourages” – compare Hebrews 10:25 (margin). How wonderful it is that we can experience His comfort! but let us be careful that we do not become selfish and self-centred in our enjoyment of his blessings.
- We should enjoy His liberty: let us be victorious over every form of carnal or legal bondage. Look up John 8:36, and compare Romans 8:2. Lazarus was raised from the dead, but he had “his hands and feet wrapped around with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face” (John 11:44) – work, walk and witness!
- We are going to share His glory: let us be humbled by this rapturous prospect. Look up Revelation 1:17. Now be sure to read 1 John 3:1-2!