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The online study, Bible Study Tools, defines adoption as the acceptance of a person into a family to whom they did not belong originally. By law, the adopted receives the privileges, benefits, position, responsibilities and obligations as a natural-born son (Brown). The modern laws of adoption are based on legal actions taken before the Roman magistrates. These actions enabled a person to take into his own family a child not his own with the intent of raising the child as his own with the privileges and responsibilities of that family.
This is important because the adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family and at the same time lost all rights and responsibilities in his old family. All debts and obligations from the man’s prior life were nullified. On the other hand, the adopted now stood as the heir of an inheritance of his new father. An adoption was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses close to the family to make the pact official.
The adopted enjoyed the same privileges as natural born sons. The adopted got a new family and became the heir of his new family’s estate. He was inalienable to the family. All debts were cancelled, and he was the son of his new father (Orr).Narration/ DivisionThere are many examples of adopting in the Bible; some of them are Moses, Esther, Samuel, and Christ. Jochebed, Moses’ biological mother, who loved her son and arranged for Moses to be rescued, and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter, in order to save his life.
Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s court and later became the God’s deliverer for the Israelites. Moses had to be born a Hebrew and he had to have what his adoptive family gave him to be prepared for what God called him to do. His birth and his adoptive heritage were what made him who he became. Esther was raised by her uncle, Mordecai. Esther had her place in Jewish history, as her story tells she was being prepared for such a time as this, to save the whole Jewish people form annihilation. Samuel was given to God by his mother and raised by Eli, the priest (1 Samuel 1). He was prepared to lead the nation of Israel as a prophet, by some one to whom he was not biologically related. God Himself, provided His own son with an earthly father to raise Him. These are just some of the examples given in the Bible.Adoption demonstrates a Biblical theme of covenants. Adoption is not just a legal process but a relationship. Paul says in Ephesians that Christians were chosen, before the foundation of the world, to be adopted, he is describing a privilege that was originally bestowed exclusively on Israel but now made available by the new covenant to all who believe in Christ. This should clarify that adopted children are not second best or not really a member of a family. Mankind has to both give and receive in their relationship with God. Man becomes a new person when he is saved. Many aspects of life must change as well. The relationship with God and with other people must change (Piper).New Relationships Adoption involves a new relationship with God the Father. When Christ died for mankind, God, who justly condemns sinners, becomes man’s loving Father, instead of wrathful judge. He is not only the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is God and Father of all. Scripture tells us that because of our adoption, God the Father is now approachable. Through the intercession of Christ, seated at His right hand, man now has access to the Father. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught them to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” And the writer of Hebrews proclaims, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”(Hebrews: 4:16) God our Father wants man to come to Him. He wants fellowship with all of man. He wants to care for man. He hears and answers the prayers of man. God is also a Father who corrects people when they need it, and he does better than any earthly father ever could. Because of adoption, man will have a new relationship with God the Son. Not only is He the Savior, the One who paid for man’s justification, but He is now also a brother, as see in Hebrews 2:For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect (that is, complete) through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again:”I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”Christ is the king of the earth, and when man reaches Heaven the most capable will rule cities in Christ’s name. Not only will Christians be saved but they are brothers to Christ. With Christ as an older brother, Christians are given an example of how to live life. Christ was perfect, loving, sinless, and the best family member for everyone. Adoption involves a new relationship with God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit resides in every believer. He comes and brings man to spiritual life by the work of calling and regenerating every man’s spirit. In Romans 8 it states that this has something very specific to do with man’s adoption when it says, “the Spirit of the adoption.” In Ephesians 1 it states that, “Having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” What Paul is saying is that as adopted sons of God man has the promise of an inheritance, and God the Holy Spirit taking up residence in every Christian’s heart when they are converted.The Holy Spirit also bears witness that those who are saved are the sons of God. In Romans 8 it says that “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with the spirit of a man that he is a child of God, and if he is a child then a heir, as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”Adoption involves a new relationship with other people. There are two aspects to this. First, those who are adopted sons of God are brothers in Christ. Not just those who are known to a person but the ones in the next town and the next state and the next country and all around the world, and even the ones that have gone on to glory and are at this moment in the presence of the Lord. It should be comforting to Christians that they have family all over the world. Family that would pray for them, help them in their time of need, and encourage their faith in Christ. Christians should not just be takers of these encouragements from God. Man must also seek to do these things for their fellow brothers.As brothers of all believers, man has a new name; the name of God. In Ephesians 3 Paul proclaims that the entire family of God, those who are already in heaven from the fall onward, those now on earth, those yet to come, all have the name of Christ and there is a celebration anytime another accepts that name. Only those who are truly believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept the salvation given by Him, have the right to be called Christians and children of God.This also means that man has a new relationship with unbelievers. They are no longer our brothers. They are still in Adam. They are still dead in their sins. (Walton) Those who are not of the family of God are of the family of the devil. Satan will use his children to mislead and defile the innocence of children of God. Since Christians are no longer children of the devil they must learn to guard themselves from the tools of the Devil. Christians have a different family name, the name of Christ. God’s family has a different set of family interests, centering not in the glory of man but in the glory of God, and God calls man to live as is fitting for their new family name and interests. The interests of God’s family are pure, whereas the interest of the devil’s family are selfish and based on doing the opposite of God’s commands. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. Christians are to be witnesses in the world of the precious gift of God’s adoption (Bailey).Benefits of Adoption When man is adopted into the family of God he receives the promises of God: deliverance from the law, the Holy Spirit as the pledge of his inheritance, a new family, and an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father. Man has been delivered from the penalty of the law. Galatians 4:4-5 proclaims that God the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. He did this so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the sins of creation was fully accepted by the Father and the punishment of His righteous law was fully met. As a result, those who find refuge from the condemnation of the Law in the Chris find themselves accepted by the Heavenly Father as members of His beloved family.Man receives the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance. Ephesians 1:13-14 proclaims that at the moment of belief in the Gospel the believer is sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. The Holy Spirit, who dwells among man, is God’s down-payment on His own promise. As a fully mature adopted son man is the rightful heir, in Christ, of an unspeakable inheritance. (R.M. Edgar) The Holy Spirit’s presence is proof of man’s adoption. Man is placed into a family in which it does not naturally belong. Ephesians 2:3 proclaims that before Christians were regenerated by the Holy Spirit and faith came from the hearing of the Gospel (Rom 10:17), we were children of wrath. According to 1 John 3:2, we are children of God. No longer are men children of the devil (1 Jn 3:10), but fully accepted and adopted sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. (1 John 3:10) Man belongs to Him. Man was adopted by Him. Man belongs in His family.Man has an intimate father-son relationship with God. Romans 8:15 proclaims that man has not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but instead has received a spirit of adoption as sons by which people cry out, Abba! Father!’ As a result of this relationship man: is invited to pray and to call Him Father’ (Matthew 6:9), receives His compassion (Psalm 103:13-14), is assured of His love as He disciplines man for their sins and prepares them for righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-10), is released from the punishment of their sins (Matthew 6:12).Adoption by God in Jesus Christ is the most comforting doctrine in the Word of God. If a person is born again, they have a richness before God, as His child. Man needs to remember the love of the Father in sending His Son. Remember the love of the Son in giving Himself as our ransom. Remember the love of the Holy Spirit who has sealed mankind to the day of redemption (Eph 5:30). Remember the responsibility that comes with this adoption. When man is adopted into the family of God he receives the promises of God. He receives a new life in Christ, he is delivered from the law, he receives the Holy Spirit as the pledge of his inheritance, he receives a new family, and he receives an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father. Practical ApplicationAll who accept the Jesus Christ as Savior are children of God, by adoption through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). As children of God, while God has some responsibilities to make a success of man’s walk of faith in this world, Christians also have some responsibilities to bear in this regard (Edgar). Peter says that one of man’s responsibilities as children of God is to desire things that are beneficial to their spiritual growth. Some take this impractically. For example, some immediately begin to desire higher positions in the family of God. Although this is good, it is inappropriate and ill-timed. The first responsibility of a believer when he becomes a child of God, is to desire to learn the Word of their Father so that he can grow to maturity through it (Pounds). It is after this that he can serve the Family of God. One cannot expect to become a leader in God’s family after only a short amount of time. They should learn from those already in leadership positions, and see to it that they learn from them. If a new believer desires to be a pastor or an evangelist right after accepting Christ, it results with that believer having little depth in the Word of God. This could hurt the family of God more than it could be beneficial. For if children of the devil attack him and make the new Christian fall, it could cause many of the man’s brothers to fall as well.1 John 3:3 states that the children of God must keep themselves pure. After being purified by the blood of Christ, adopted children of God have a responsibility of not going back to their old lives (Cruver). Man achieves this by measuring their actions against the standard of the Father as seen in God’s Word. Anything that is contrary to the Word of God is something that must be avoided and is of the family of the devil. This is another reason why all children of God need to be grounded in the Bible.Refutation Although Christians have been adopted into the family of God, God will not allow man to cause constant disruption among His sons. If man causes continual disruption God will chose to protect the majority of his family and cut off the man who has returned to the family of the devil. For God will give them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to impurity for the degrading of their bodies (Romans 1:24). The Father will try to save all of his children and he will do anything to protect them. He gave his only Son to be able to claim man as His children (Romans 8:32). To what extent would He go to keep man as His child? Many question why God would only allow Christians into His family and not all of man. God’s adoption is for everyone and He desires all men to put their faith in Him and accept His grace (1 Timothy 2:4-6). The Father deeply longs for all of mankind to be adopted into His family and He provides the opportunity. It is therefore up to man to accept God’s adoption. Conclusion The theologian John Piper says that adoption is the greatest gift man can give to man, and the greatest gift God has given to man.
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