Week 33: Adoption
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17
For the past six weeks we’ve been diving deep into theological terminology like justification and propitiation and righteousness. And all of these doctrines are vital in our understanding of the character and nature of God, particularly in and through the salvation process.
Many of these ideas and concepts deal with certain aspects of God as judge and savior. However, todays word demands that we see God as our Father. The word is adoption.
Paul, in the book of Romans and Galatians, says that we have received the spirit of adoption. That deep in our hearts we cry out to God, not just as creator and judge, but as Abba, Father. This spirit allows us to never have to fall back into fear and slavery because we can know the love of the Father.
Some of the words Paul has been using in Romans 3, like propitiation and justice, they conjure up images of a court room where we are standing on trail before a holy and just judge. These images are very true and very helpful; they’re just not the complete story.
Imagine that you were on trial for a crime or sin that you knew that you were guilty of. The prosecutor makes his case against you and you know that you have no defense. You may have excuses, but you know that you’re guilty.
And now imagine that when the judge renders the verdict against you, he does something totally shocking and unexpected. The judge slams down the gavel and declares you “not guilty.”
Not only that, the judge decides that he would fully pay the debt that you had incurred as a result of your crime. There is no doubt that you would be blown away by the grace and mercy of the judge.
That would be enough to warrant a response of unbridled gratefulness for the rest of your days. However, there’s more to the story than that. What I have just described is justification and righteousness and propitiation.
But now imagine that even though the judge has set you free from your crime and you have no place to go, imagine the judge looking at you and saying, “I would like for you to come home with me as my son or daughter.”
Not only did the judge forgive your crime, but he gives you his name. He covers all of your expenses. He chooses you to be the object of real authentic fatherly affection. And then he keeps going.
One day he brings you into his study and he asks you to sit down. He has a pile of papers on his desk that he wants you to be made aware of. And you begin to think, “I knew it, I knew there’d be a catch.” But instead of a catch, it’s a blessing.
The papers are the documentation that record all that the father owns. And it is more than you can ever imagine. And then this judge turned father looks at you and says, “All that I have is yours. You are an heir to my kingdom. And I am giving it to you because I love you.”
Just imagine. As you continue to deepen your relationship with Jesus and as you deepen your understanding of the gospel, may you never forget that God chose you and paid for you and loves you as His very own son or daughter.
May you never forget that anyone that is in Christ has been adopted into the family of God. And may that cause you to DEEPEN your relationship with Him.